thouse, whether he "crammed"
his music or not, has in that book given a lively and quite accurate
picture of the art as practised about Charles I.'s time.
There is no need here to name the many well-known writers who have
spoken of music with a lofty disregard for facts and parade of
ignorance which, displayed in any other matter, would have brought on
them the just contempt of any reviewer.
The student of music in Shakespeare is bound to view the subject in
two different ways, the first purely historical, the second (so to
As for the first, the most superficial comparison of the plays alone,
with the records of the practice and social position of the musical
art in Elizabethan times, shews that Shakespeare is in every way a
trustworthy guide in these matters; while, as for the second view,
there are many most interesting passages which treat of music from the
emotional standpoint, and which clearly shew his thorough personal
appreciation of its higher and more spiritual qualities.
Hamlet tells us, and we believe, often without clearly understanding,
that players are _the abstracts and brief chronicles of the time_, and
that the end of playing, both at the first and now, was, and is, to
hold the mirror up to nature, and _to shew the very age and body of
the time, his form and pressure_.
The study of this one feature of the "age and body" of Shakespeare's
time, with the view of clearly grasping the extreme accuracy of the
"abstract and brief chronicle" to be found in his works, will surely
go some way to give definiteness and force to our ideas of
Shakespeare's magnificent grip of all other phases of thought and of
The argument recommends itself--"If he is trustworthy in this subject,
he is trustworthy in all."
To a professional reader at all events, it argues very much indeed in
a writer's favour, that the "layman" has managed to write the simplest
sentence about a specialty, without some more or less serious blunder.
Finally, no Shakespeare student will deny that some general help is
necessary, when Schmidt's admirable Lexicon commits itself to such a
misleading statement as that a virginal is a kind of small pianoforte,
and when a very distinguished Shakespeare scholar has allowed a
definition of a viol as a six-stringed guitar to appear in print under
Out of thirty-seven plays of Shakespeare, there are no less than
thirty-two which contain interesting references to music and musical
matters _in the text itself_. There are also over three hundred stage
directions which are musical in their nature, and these occur in
thirty-six out of thirty-seven plays.
The musical references in the text are most commonly found in the
comedies, and are generally the occasion or instrument of
word-quibbling and witticisms; while the musical stage directions
belong chiefly to the tragedies, and are mostly of a military nature.
As it is indispensable that the student of Shakespeare and Music
should have a clear idea of the social status and influence of music
in Shakespearian times, here follows a short sketch of the history of
this subject, which the reader is requested to peruse with the
deliberate object of finding every detail confirmed in Shakespeare's
MUSIC IN SOCIAL LIFE.
(_Temp., 16th and 17th centuries._)
Morley, "Plain and Easy Introduction to Practical Music," 1597, pp. 1
and 2. Here we read of a dinner-party, or "banket," at which the
conversation was entirely about music. Also--after supper--_according
to custom_--"parts" were handed round by the hostess. Philomathes has
to make many excuses as to his vocal inability, and finally is obliged
to confess that he cannot sing at all. At this the rest of the company
"wonder"--and some whisper to their neighbours, "How was he brought
up?" Phil. is ashamed--and goes to seek Gnorimus the music-master. The
master is surprised to see him--as Phil. has heretofore distinguished
himself by inveighing against music as a "corrupter of good manners,
and an allurement to vices." Phil.'s experience of the supper-party
has so far changed his views that he wishes as soon as may be to
change his character of Stoic for that of Pythagorean. Thereupon the
master begins to teach him from the very beginning, "as though he were
Then follows a long lesson--which is brought to an end by Philomathes
giving farewell to the master as thus--"Sir, I thanke you, and meane
so diligently to practise till our next meeting, that then I thinke I
shall be able to render you a full account of all which you have told
me, till the which time I wish you such contentment of mind and ease
of body as you desire to yourselfe (Master's health had been very bad
for long enough) or mothers use to wish to their children." The Master
replies--"I thanke you: and assure your selfe it will not be the
smallest part of my contentment to see my schollers go towardly
forward in their studies, which I doubt not but you will doe, if you
take but reasonable pains in practise."
Later on in the Third Part (p. 136) Phil.'s brother Polymathes comes
with him to Gnorimus for a lesson in Descant--_i.e._, the art of
extemporaneously adding a part to the written plainsong. This
brother had had lessons formerly from a master who carried a plainsong
book in his pocket, and caused him to do the like; "and so walking in
the fields, hee would sing the plaine song, and cause me to sing the
descant, etc." Polymathes tells us also that his master had a friend,
a descanter himself, who used often to drop in--but "never came in my
maister's companie ... but they fell to contention.... What? (saith
the one), you keepe not time in your proportions: you sing them false
(saith the other), what proportion is this? (saith hee),
sesqui-_paltery_ (saith the other): nay (would the other say), you
sing you know not what, it shoulde seeme you came latelie from a
Barber's shop, where you had _Gregory Walker_ (derisive name for
'quadrant pavan,' 'which was most common 'mongst the Barbars and
Fidlers') or a _curranta_ plaide in the new proportions by them lately
found out, called sesqui-_blinda_, and sesqui-_harken-after_."
[Footnote 1: See Appendix.]
[These mocking terms, sesqui-_paltery_, sesqui-_blinda_, and
sesqui-_harken-after_, are perversions of names of "proportions" used
in the 16th century--as, sesqui-_altera_ (3 equal notes against 2).]
We find, on p. 208, that both Philomathes and Polymathes are young
University gentlemen--looking forward hereafter to be "admitted to the
handling of the weightie affaires of the common wealth."
The lessons end with their request to the master to give them "some
songes which may serve both to direct us in our compositions, and by
singing them recreate us after our more serious studies."
Thus we find that in Elizabeth's reign it was the "custom" for a
lady's guests to sing unaccompanied music from "parts," after supper;
and that inability to take "a part" was liable to remark from the rest
of the company, and indeed that such inability cast doubt on the
person having any title to education at all.
We find that one music master was accustomed to have his gentleman
pupils so constantly "in his company" that they would practise their
singing while "walking in the fields."
Finally--that part-singing from written notes, and also the extempore
singing of a second part (descant) to a written plainsong, was a
diversion of such young University gentlemen, and was looked on as a
proper form of recreation after hard reading.
In the 16th century music was considered an _essential_ part of a
clergyman's education. A letter from Sir John Harrington to Prince
Henry (brother of Charles I.) about Dr John Still, Bishop of Bath and
Wells in 1592, says that no one "could be admitted to _primam
tonsuram_, except he could first _bene le bene con bene can_, as they
called it, which is to read well, to conster [construe] well, and to
_sing well_, in which last he hath good judgment." [The three _bene's_
are of course _le-gere, con-struere, can-tare_.]
Also, according to Hawkins (History of Music, p. 367), the statutes of
Trinity College, Cambridge, founded by Henry VIII., make part of the
Examination of Candidates for Fellowships to be in "Quid in Cantando
possint"; indeed, _all members were supposed capable of singing a part
in choir service_.
[Footnote 2: This statement of Hawkins' seems a little exaggerated. Mr
Aldis Wright tells me that the statutes provided for an examination in
singing for Candidates for Fellowships, and that ability gave a
candidate an advantage, in case of equality. Singing was not required
of all candidates, but the subject was considered on the fourth day of
the examination, along with the essay and verse composition.]
(Long before this, in 1463, Thomas Saintwix, _doctor in music_, was
elected Master of King's College, Cambridge.)
Accordingly, we find Henry VIII., who, as a younger brother, was
intended for the Church, and eventually for the See of Canterbury, was
a good practical musician. Erasmus says he composed offices for the
church. An anthem, "O Lord, the maker of all things," is ascribed to
him; and Hawkins gives a motet in three parts by the king, "Quam
Chappell's Old English Popular Music gives a passage from a letter of
Pasqualigo the Ambassador-extraordinary, dated about 1515, which says
that Henry VIII. "plays well on the lute and virginals, sings from
book at sight," etc. Also in Vol. I. are given two part-songs by the
king, 'Pastyme with good companye' and 'Wherto shuld I expresse.'
A somewhat unclerical amusement of Henry VIII.'s is related by Sir
John Harrington (temp. James I.). An old monkish rhyme, "The Blacke
Saunctus, or Monkes Hymn to Saunte Satane," was set to music in a
canon of three parts by Harrington's father (who had married a natural
daughter of Henry VIII.); and King Henry was used "in pleasaunt moode
to sing it." For the music and words, see Hawkins, pp. 921 and 922.
Anne Boleyn was an enthusiastic musician, and, according to Hawkins,
"doted on the compositions of Jusquin and Mouton, and had collections
of them made for the private practice of herself and her maiden
It appears from the Diary of King Edward VI. that he was a musician,
as he mentions playing on the lute before the French Ambassador as one
of the several accomplishments which he displayed before that
gentleman, July 19th, 1551.
There is also a letter from Queen Catherine (of Arragon), the mother
of Queen Mary, in which she exhorts her "to use her virginals and
lute, if she has any."
As for Elizabeth, there is abundant evidence that she was a good
The best known MS. collection of virginal music (that in the
Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge) has at least always been known as
Queen Elizabeth's Virginal Book, and the following quaint story is
quoted by Hawkins from Melvil's Memoirs (Lond. 1752).
"The same day, after dinner, my Lord of Hunsdean drew me up to a quiet
gallery that I might hear some music (but he said he durst not avow
it), where I might hear the queen play upon the virginals. After I had
hearkened a while I took by [aside] the tapestry that hung before the
door of the chamber, and stood a pretty space, hearing her play
excellently well; but she left off immediately so soon as she turned
her about and saw me. She appeared to be surprised to see me, and came
forward, seeming to strike me with her hand, alledging she was not
used to play before men, but when she was solitary to shun
melancholy." [Queen Elizabeth's Virginal is in South Kensington
To go on with the Royal musicians (who are interesting as such,
because their habit _must have set the fashion of the day_), in James
I.'s reign we find that Prince Charles learnt the Viol da Gamba from
Coperario (_i.e._, John Cooper). Also Playford (temp. Charles II.)
says of Charles I. that the king "often appointed the service and
anthems himself" in the Royal Chapel; "and would play his part exactly
well on the bass-violl,"--_i.e._, the viol da gamba.
George Herbert, who was by birth a courtier, found in music "his
chiefest recreation," "and did himself compose many divine hymns and
anthems, which he set and sung to his lute or viol.... His love to
music was such, that he went usually twice every week ... to the
cathedral church in Salisbury; and at his return would say that his
time spent in prayer and cathedral music elevated his soul, and was
his heaven upon earth." But not only was the poet-priest a lover of
church music, for (Walton's Life goes on) "before his return thence to
Bemerton, he would usually _sing and play his part at an appointed
private music meeting_." This was fourteen years after Shakespeare's
Anthony Wood, who was at Oxford University in 1651, gives a most
interesting account of the practice of chamber music for viols (and
even violins, which, by Charles II.'s time, had superseded the feebler
viols) in Oxford. In his Life, he mentions that "the gentlemen in
privat meetings, which A.W. frequented, play'd three, four, and five
Parts with Viols, as, Treble-Viol, Tenor, Counter-Tenor, and Bass,
with an Organ, Virginal, or Harpsicon joyn'd with them: and they
esteemed a Violin to be an Instrument only belonging to a common
Fidler, and could not endure that it should come among them, for feare
of making their Meetings to be vaine and fidling." Wood went to a
_weekly meeting_ of musicians in Oxford. Amongst those whom he names
as "performing their parts" are four Fellows of New College, a Fellow
of All Souls, who was "an admirable Lutenist," "Ralph Sheldon, Gent.,
a Rom. Catholick ... living in Halywell neare Oxon., admired for his
smooth and admirable way in playing on the Viol," and a Master of Arts
of Magdalen, who had a weekly meeting at his own college. Besides the
amateurs, there were eight or nine professional musicians who
frequented these meetings. This was in 1656, and in 1658 Wood gives
the names of over sixteen other persons, with whom he used to play and
sing, all of whom were Fellows of Colleges, Masters of Arts, or at
least members of the University. Amongst them was "Thom. Ken of New
Coll., a Junior" (afterwards Bishop Ken, one of the seven bishops who
were deprived at the Revolution), who could "sing his part." All the
rest played either viol, violin, organ, virginals, or harpsichord, or
"These did frequent the Weekly Meetings, and _by the help of public
Masters of Musick_, who were mixed with them, they were much
There seems to have been little that was not pure enjoyment in these
meetings. Only two persons out of the thirty-two mentioned seem to
have had any undesirable quality--viz., Mr Low, organist of Christ
Church, who was "a _proud_ man," and "could not endure any common
Musitian to come to the meeting;" and "Nathan. Crew, M.A., Fellow of
Linc. Coll., a Violinist and Violist, _but alwaies played out of
Tune_." This last gentleman was afterwards Bishop of Durham.
Thus we find that in the 16th and 17th centuries a practical
acquaintance with music was a regular part of the education of both
sovereign, gentlemen of rank, and the higher middle class.
We find Henry VIII. composing church music, and at the same time
enjoying himself singing in the three-part canon composed by his
friend, a gentleman of rank.
We find that a Fellow of Trinity at the same time was expected to
sing "his part" in chapel as a matter of course. We find Edward VI.,
Mary, and Elizabeth to have all been capable players on lute or
virginals. We find that it was the merest qualification that an
Elizabethan bishop should be able to sing well; and that young
University gentlemen of birth thought it nothing out of the way to
learn all the mysteries of both prick-song (a _written_ part) and
descant (an _extempore_ counterpoint), and to solace their weary hours
by singing "in parts."
Immediately after Shakespeare's time, we find a courtier of James I.,
and the ill-fated Prince Charles himself, both enthusiasts in both
church and chamber music; and lastly, two years after the Regicide, we
find the University of Oxford to have been a perfect hotbed of musical
cultivation. Men who afterwards became Bishops, Archdeacons,
Prebendaries, besides sixteen Fellows of Colleges, and sundry
gentlemen of family, were not ashamed to practise chamber music and
singing to an extent which really has no parallel whatever nowadays.
There is plenty of evidence, though more indirect in kind, that the
lower classes were as enthusiastic about music as the higher. A large
number of passages in contemporary authors shows clearly that singing
in parts (especially of "catches") was a common amusement with
blacksmiths, colliers, cloth-workers, cobblers, tinkers, watchmen,
country parsons, and soldiers.
In _Damon and Pithias_, 1565, Grimme, the _collier_, sings "a bussing
[buzzing] base," and two of his friends, Jack and Will, "quiddel upon
it," _i.e._, they sing the tune and words, while he buzzes the burden.
Peele's _Old Wives Tale_, 1595, says, "This _smith_ leads a life as
merry as a king; Sirrah Frolic, I am sure you are not without some
_round_ or other; no doubt but Clunch [the smith] can _bear his
Beaumont and Fletcher's _Coxcomb_ has
"Where were the _watch_ the while? good sober gentlemen,
They were, like careful members of the city,
Drawing in diligent ale, and _singing catches_."
Also in B. and F.'s _Faithful Friends_--
"_Bell._--Shall's have a _catch_, my hearts?
_Calve._--Aye, good lieutenant.
_Black._--Methinks a _soldier_ should sing nothing else;
_catch, that catch may_ is all our life, you know."
[Footnote 3: Drayton (James I.'s reign) in his "Battle of Agincourt,"
l. 1199, has--"The common Souldiers free-mens _catches_ sing"--of the
French before the battle (_free_men is a corruption of _three_men).]
[In _Bonduca_, a play of B. and F's., altered for operatic setting by
Purcell in 1695, there is a catch in three parts, sung by the Roman
In Sir William Davenant's (Davenant flourished 1635) comedy _The
Wits_, Snore, one of the characters, says--
"It must be late, for gossip Nock, the _nailman_,
Had catechized his maids, and _sung three catches
And a song_, ere we set forth."
Samuel Harsnet, in his _Declaration of Egregious Impostures_, 1603,
mentions a 'merry catch,' 'Now God be with old Simeon' (for which see
Rimbault's Rounds, Canons, and Catches of England), which he says was
sung by _tinkers_ 'as they sit by the fire, with a pot of good ale
between their legs.'
And in _The Merry Devill of Edmonton_, 1631, there is a comical story
of how Smug _the miller_ was _singing a catch_ with the _merry Parson_
in an alehouse, and how they 'tost' the words "_I'll ty my mare in thy
ground_," 'so long to and fro,' that Smug forgot he was singing a
catch, and began to quarrel with the Parson, 'thinking verily, he had
meant (as he said in his song) to _ty his mare in his ground_.'
Finally, in _Pammelia_, a collection of Rounds and Catches of 3, 4,
5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 parts, edited by Thomas Ravenscroft, and
published in 1609, there is a curious preface, which states that
'Catches are so _generally affected_ ... because they are so consonant
to _all ordinary musical capacity_, being such, indeed, as all such
_whose love of musick exceeds their skill_, cannot but commend.' The
preface further asserts that the book is 'published only _to please
To go on to _instrumental_ music among the lower classes of
Elizabethan and Shakespearian times; there is an allusion in the above
quoted passage from Morley (1597) to the habit of playing on an
instrument in a barber's shop while waiting one's turn to be shaved.
This is also referred to in Ben Jonson's _Alchemist_ and _Silent
Woman_. In the latter play, Cutberd the barber has recommended a wife
to Morose. Morose finds that instead of a mute helpmate he has got one
who had 'a tongue with a tang,' and exclaims 'that cursed _barber_! I
have married his _cittern_ that is common to all men': meaning that as
the barber's cittern was always being played, so his wife was always
There is a poem of the 18th century which speaks of the old times,
'In former time 't hath been upbrayded thus,
That _barber's musick_ was most _barbarous_.'
However true that may have been--at all events it is certain that in
the 16th and 17th centuries it was customary to hear instrumental
music in a barber's shop, generally of a cittern, which had four
strings and frets, like a guitar, and was thought a vulgar
[Footnote 4: The Cittern of the barber's shop had four double strings
of wire, tuned thus--1st, E in 4th space of treble staff; 2nd, D a
tone lower; 3rd, G on 2nd line; 4th, B on 3rd line. The instrument had
a carved head. See _L.L.L._ V. ii., lines 600-603, of Holofernes'
head. Also the frontispiece, where the treble viol and viol-da-gamba
have carved heads, both human, but of different types. Fantastic
heads, as of dragons or gargoyles, were often put on these
Another use of instrumental music was to entertain the guests in a
tavern. A pamphlet called _The Actor's Remonstrance_, printed 1643,
speaks of the _decay_ of music in taverns, which followed the closing
of theatres in 1642, as follows:--"Our music, that was held so
delectable and precious [_i.e._, in Shakespeare's times], that _they
scorned to come to a tavern under twenty shillings_ salary _for two
hours_, now wander [_i.e._, 1643] with their instruments under their
cloaks--I mean, such as have any--into all houses of good fellowship,
saluting every room where there is company with, 'Will you have any
Finally, in Gosson's "Short Apologie of the Schoole of Abuse," 1587,
we find that "London is so full of unprofitable pipers and fiddlers,
that a man can no sooner enter a tavern, than two or three cast of
them hang at his heels, to give him a dance before he depart." These
men sang ballads and catches as well. Also they played during dinner.
Lyly says--"Thou need no more send for a fidler to a feast, than a
beggar to a fair."
All this leads to the just conclusion, that if ever a country deserved
to be called 'musical,' that country was England, in the 16th and 17th
centuries. King and courtier, peasant and ploughman, each could 'take
his part,' with each music was a part of his daily life; while so far
from being above knowing the difference between a minim and a
crotchet, a gentleman would have been ashamed not to know it.
In this respect, at any rate, the 'good old days' were indeed better
than those that we now see. Even a _public-house song_ in Elizabeth's
day was a canon in three parts, a thing which could only be managed
'first time through' nowadays by the very first rank of professional
TECHNICAL TERMS AND INSTRUMENTS
We now proceed to consider some representative passages of Shakespeare
which deal with music.
These may be taken roughly in six divisions--viz. (1) Technical Terms
and Instruments, (2) Musical Education, (3) Songs and Singing, (4)
Serenades and other domestic 'Music,' (5) Dances and Dancing, (6)
Miscellaneous, including Shakespeare's account of the more spiritual
side of music.
To begin on the first division. There are many most interesting
passages which bristle with technical words; and these are liable to
be understood by the reader in a merely general way, with the result
that the point is wholly or partly missed. With a reasonable amount of
explanation, and a general caution to the student not to pass over
words or phrases that appear obscure, there is no reason why these
passages should not be understood by all in a much fuller light.
The following lines, though not in a play, are so full of musical
similes that it may be useful to take them at once.
_Lucrece_, line 1124.
"My _restless discord_ loves no _stops_ nor _rests_;
A woful hostess brooks not merry guests.
Relish your _nimble notes_ to pleasing ears;
Distress like _dumps_, when _time is kept_ with tears."
(Then to the nightingale)--
"Come, Philomel, that sing'st of ravishment,
Make thy sad grove in my dishevell'd hair:
As the dank earth weeps at thy languishment,
So I at each sad _strain_ will _strain_ a tear,
And with deep groans the _diapason_ bear;
For _burden_ wise I'll _hum_ on Tarquin still,
While thou on Tereus _descant'st_ better skill.
And while against a thorn thou _bear'st thy part_,
To keep thy sharp woes waking....
These means, as _frets_ upon an _instrument_,
Shall _tune_ our heart-_strings_ to true languishment."
Here Lucrece tells the birds to cease their joyous notes, and calls on
the nightingale to sing the song of Tereus, while she herself bears
the 'burden' with her groans.
The first line contains a quibble on 'rests' and 'restless' discord.
'Nimble notes' was used in the Shakespearian time as we should use the
term 'brilliant music.' Lucrece was in no humour for trills and runs,
but rather for Dumps, where she could keep slow time with her tears.
The Dumpe (from Swedish Dialect, _dumpa_, to dance awkwardly) was a
slow, mournful dance. [See Appendix.] There is another quibble in l.
1131, on _strain_. A 'strain' is the proper Elizabethan word for a
formal phrase of a musical composition. For instance, in a Pavan,
Morley (Introduction to Practical Music, 1597) says a 'straine' should
consist of 8, 12, or 16 semibreves (we should say 'bars' instead of
'semibreves') 'as they list, yet fewer then eight I have not seene in
'Diapason' meant the interval of an octave. Here Lucrece says she will
'bear the diapason' with deep groans, _i.e._, 'hum' a 'burden' or
drone an octave lower than the nightingale's 'descant.' The earliest
'burden' known is that in the ancient Round 'Sumer is icumen in,' of
the 13th century. Here four voices sing the reacords' and
'sharps.' The last two lines contain an interesting allusion in the
word 'division,' besides the pun on 'she _divideth us_.'
'Division' means roughly, a brilliant passage, of short notes, which
is founded essentially on a much simpler passage of longer notes. A
cant term for the old-fashioned variation (_e.g._, the variations of
the 'Harmonious Blacksmith') was 'Note-splitting,' which at once
explains itself, and the older word 'Division.' A very clear example
of Divisions may be found in 'Rejoice greatly' in the Messiah. The
long 'runs' on the second syllable of '_Rejoice_,' consisting of
several groups of four semiquavers, are simply 'division' or
'note-splittings' of the first note of each group.
The word, however, has a further use, namely, to play 'divisions' on a
viol-da-gamba. This was a favourite accomplishment of gentlemen in the
16th and 17th centuries. Sir Andrew Aguecheek numbered this amongst
his attainments, (see _Twelfth Night_ I, iii, 24); and readers of John
Inglesant will remember that 'Mr Inglesant, being pressed to oblige
the company, played a descant upon a ground bass in the Italian
manner.' Playing a descant on a ground bass meant playing extempore
'divisions' or variations, to the harmony of a 'ground bass' which
(with its proper chords) was repeated again and again by the
harpsichordist, until the viol player had exhausted his capacity to
produce further 'breakings' of the harmony.
In 1665 there was published an instruction book in this art, called
Chelys Minuritionum, _i.e._, the 'Tortoise-shell of Diminutions,'
hence (Chelys meaning a lyre, made of a tortoise-shell) 'The Division
Viol.' The book is by Christopher Sympson, a Royalist soldier, who was
a well-known viol-da-gamba player. The work is in three parts, the
third of which is devoted to the method of ordering division on a
To give his own words--
'Diminution or division to a ground, is the breaking either of the
bass or of any higher part that is applicable thereto. The manner of
expressing it is thus:--
'A ground, subject, or bass, call it what you please, is prick'd down
in two several papers; one for him who is to play the ground upon an
organ, harpsichord, or what other instrument may be apt for that
purpose; the other for him that plays upon the viol, who having the
said ground before his eyes as his theme or subject, plays such
variety of descant or division in concordance thereto as his skill and
present invention do then suggest unto him.'
[See the Appendix for an example by Sympson.]
Further on, he distinguishes between 'breaking the notes of the
_ground_' and 'descanting upon' the ground.
This phrase, 'breaking' notes, may be taken as a partial explanation
of several passages on Shakespeare, where 'broken music' is referred
to, although it is likely that a better account of this may be found
in the natural imperfection of the Lute, which, being a _pizzicato_
instrument (_i.e._, the strings were plucked, not played with a bow),
could not do more than indicate the harmony in 'broken' pieces, first
a bass note, then perhaps two notes at once, higher up in the scale,
the player relying on the hearer to piece the harmony together.
An entirely different explanation is that of Mr Chappell (in Aldis
Wright's Clarendon Press Edition of Henry V.), viz., that when a
'consort' of viols was imperfect, _i.e._, if one of the players was
absent, and an instrument of another kind, _e.g._, a flute, was
substituted, the music was thus said to be 'broken.' _Cf._ Matt.
Locke's 'Compositions for Broken and Whole Consorts,' 1672.
[Mr Aldis Wright has given me references to Bacon's Sylva Sylvarum,
III., 278, and Essay of Masque and Triumph, which show that 'Broken
Music' was understood to mean _any combination of instruments of
different kinds_. In Sylva Sylvarum Bacon mentions several 'consorts
of Instruments' which agree well together, _e.g._, 'the Irish Harp and
Base-Viol agree well: the Recorder and Stringed Music agree well:
Organs and the Voice agree well, etc. But the Virginals and the Lute
... agree not so well.' All these, and similar combinations, seem to
have been described as 'Broken Music.']
In point, see _Hen. V._ V, ii, 248, where Henry proposes to
_K. Hen._ Come, your answer in _broken music_; for thy
_voice is music_, and thy _English broken_; therefore, queen
of all, Katherine, _break_ thy mind to me in _broken_
English: wilt thou have me?
Also see _Troilus_ III, i, 52 and ff. (quoted further on).
An entirely separate use of 'break' is in the phrase 'broken time,'
which has the simple and obvious meaning that the notes do not receive
their due length and proportion. In this connection we will take the
passage of King Richard's speech in prison at Pontefract--when he
hears music without, performed by some friendly hands.
_Rich. II._ V, v, 41. King R. in prison.
_K. Rich._ _Music_ do I hear?
Ha, ha! _keep time_.--How sour sweet music is,
When _time is broke_, and no _proportion kept_!
So is it in the music of men's lives.
And here have I the _daintiness of ear_,
To check _time broke_ in a _disorder'd string_;
But, for the _concord_ of _my_ state and _time_,
Had not an _ear_ to hear my true _time broke_.
* * * * *
_This music mads me_: let it sound no more:
For though _it hath holp madmen_ to their wits,
In me, it seems, it will make wise men mad.
The simile is perfect, and the play upon 'time broke' admirable. In l.
45 Richard reflects on the sad contrast between his quick 'ear' for
'broken time' in music, and his slowness to hear the 'breaking' of his
_own_ 'state and time.' The 'disorder'd string' is himself, who has
been playing his part 'out of time' ('Disorder'd' simply means 'out of
its place'--_i.e._, as we now say, 'a bar wrong'), and this has
resulted in breaking the 'concord'--_i.e._, the harmony of the various
parts which compose the state.
A few words are necessary about 'Proportion.' This term was used in
Elizabethan times exactly as we now use 'Time.' The 'times' used in
modern music can practically be reduced to two--viz., Duple (two beats
to the bar) and Triple (three beats to the bar). But in Elizabeth's
day the table of various Proportions was a terribly elaborate thing.
Of course many of these 'Proportions' never really came into practical
use--but there was plenty of mystery left even after all deductions.
Morley (Introduction, 1597) gives Five kinds of proportions 'in most
common use'--viz., Dupla, Tripla, Quadrupla, Sesquialtera, and
Sesquitertia. The first three correspond to what we still call Duple,
Triple, and Quadruple Time--_i.e._, 2 in the bar, 3 in the bar, and 4
in the bar. ['Bars' were not in general use till the end of the 16th
century, but the principle was the same. The bars themselves are
merely a convenience.]
Sesquialtera is more complicated, and means 'three notes are sung to
two of the same kinde'; and 'Sesquitertia is when four notes are sung
to three of the same kinde.' 'But' (Morley adds), 'if a man would
ingulphe himselfe to learn to sing, and set down all them which
Franchinus Gaufurius  hath set down in his booke De
Proportionibus Musicis, he should find it a matter not only hard but
Ornithoparcus, in his Micrologus (1535), gives us an idea of the way
this subject of proportion was treated by more 'learned' writers. He
says (1) that music considers only the proportion of inequality, (2)
that this is two-fold--viz., the greater and the lesser inequality.
(3) The greater inequality contains five proportions, namely,
multiplex, superparticular, superpartiens, multiplex superparticular,
and multiplex superpartiens.
This is more amusing than instructive, perhaps. The three last lines
of this passage refer to the various stories of real or pretended
cure of disease by the use of particular pieces of music. One of the
best known of these diseases is 'Tarantism,' or the frenzy produced by
the bite of the Tarantula, in Italy.
Kircher, a learned Jesuit (1601-1680), gives an account, in his
"Musurgia," of the cure of this madness by certain airs, by which the
patient is stimulated to dance violently. The perspiration thus
produced was said to effect a cure. In his "Phonurgia nova" (1673)
Kircher actually gives the notes of the tune by which one case was
In this connection, Kircher mentions King Saul's madness, which was
relieved by David's harp playing. This is certainly to the point, and
may well have been in Shakespeare's mind. [See George Herbert's poem,
'Doomsday,' verse 2.]
Our modern Tarantellas derive their name and characteristic speed from
the old Tarantula.
_Lear_ I, ii, 137. Edmund pretends not to see Edgar's entrance.
_Edmund (aside)._ Pat he comes, like the catastrophe of the
old comedy: my cue is villainous melancholy, with a _sigh
like Tom o' Bedlam_.--O! these eclipses do portend _these
divisions_. _Fa, sol, la, mi._
Songs like 'Tom o' Bedlam,' mad-songs they were called, were very
commonly sung in England in the 17th century. The tune and words of
the original 'Tom a Bedlam' are to be found in Chappell, Vol. I. p.
175. Its date is some time before 1626, and verse 1 begins, 'From
the hagg and hungrie Goblin,' and the whole is as full of ejaculations
of 'Poor Tom' as Act III. of _Lear_.
[Footnote 6: Rimbault's preface to the Musical Antiquarian Society's
reprint of Purcell's opera, "Bonduca," says that Mad Tom was written
by Coperario in 1612, for the Masque of the Inner Temple and Gray's
Inn, by Beaumont. This was, 'Forth from my sad and darksome sell.']
The last sentence has yet another play on the double meaning of
'divisions.' A few lines further on Edmund explains what kind of
'divisions' he expects to follow the eclipses--namely, 'between the
child and the parent ... dissolutions of ancient amities; divisions in
state,' etc. But the very use of the word in the quoted lines brings
its musical meaning into his head, for he promptly carries off his
assumed blindness to Edgar's presence by humming over his 'fa, sol,
la, mi.' [Burney, Hist., Vol. III. p. 344, has a sensible observation
on this passage--that Edgar alludes to the unnatural division of
parent and child, etc., in this musical phrase, which contains the
augmented fourth, or _mi contra fa_, of which the old theorists used
to say 'diabolus est.']
Guido d'Arezzo (or Aretinus), in his Micrologus (about 1024), named
the six notes of the Hexachord (_e.g._, C, D, E, F, G, A), thus--Ut,
Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La. These were the first syllables of certain words
in the Hymn for the feast of St John Baptist, the words and tune of
which are in Hawkins, p. 163.
"UT queant laxis
LA-bii reatum, Sancte Joannes."
A rough translation of which is--
'That thy servants may be able with free hearts to sound
forth the wonders of thy deeds; release us, O Holy John,
from the guilt of a defiled lip.'
In the ancient tune of this verse, the notes assigned to the syllables
in capitals were successively those of the scale, C, D, E, F, G, A,
and these same syllables were still used in singing in the 16th
century. It was noticed, however, that the scale could be easily
expressed by fewer names, and accordingly we find Christopher Sympson
(1667) saying, in his 'Compendium,' that Ut and Re are 'superfluous,
and therefore laid aside by most Modern Teachers.' In his book, the
whole scale of _eight_ notes is named thus--Fa, Sol, La, Fa, Sol, La,
_mi_, Fa. A modern Tonic Solfaist would understand this arrangement
quite differently. C, D, E would be called Do (instead of Ut), Re, Mi;
then would follow F, G, A, under the names Fa, Sol, La; and the
'leading note' [top note but one] would be called Ti (instead of Si);
the octave C beginning once more with Do.
The reader will remember that the tonal relation of C, D, E is exactly
the same as that of the next three notes, F, G, A--viz., C--D, a tone;
D--E, a tone; and similarly with F--G, G--A. Therefore the two blocks
of three notes (which are separated by a _semi_-tone) might have the
same names--viz., Fa, sol, la. Thus we have the first _six_ notes of
the scale, Fa, sol, la, fa, sol, la. There only remains one note, the
'leading note,' the B; and this, in Sympson, is named _Mi_. So the
principal thing in the sol-fa-ing of a passage was to 'place the Mi,'
or, as we should now put it, to find 'what key' it is in. Thus, in the
key of C, Mi is in B: in G, Mi is in F sharp: in F, Mi is in E, and so
on, the remaining six notes being named Fa, sol, la, fa, sol, la, as
Edmund's 'Fa, Sol, La, Mi,' therefore, corresponds to F, G, A, B; or
C, D, E, F sharp; or B flat, C, D, E, etc.; according to the pitch
taken by the singer.
In this connection see the following passage:--
_Shrew_ I, ii, 16.
_Petr._ 'Faith, sirrah, an you'll not knock, I'll _wring_ it:
I'll try how you can _sol, fa_, and _sing it_.'
[He wrings GRUMIO by the ears.
Here is a pun on 'wring' and 'ring'; and 'sol-fa' is used as an
equivalent for 'sing.'
More important still is 'the gamut of Hortensio,' _Shrew_ III, i, 72.
[Gam-ut was the name of the Ut of lowest pitch, corresponding to the
low G on the first line of our present bass staff, and was marked
specially with a Greek Gamma, hence Gam-ut. The word became a synonym
for 'the Scale.']
In this passage the names of the notes are simply those to be found in
all instruction books of the 16th and 17th centuries.
'Gam-ut I am, the ground of all accord,
A-re, to plead Hortensio's passion;
B-mi, Bianca, take him for thy lord,
C-fa-ut, that loves with all affection:
D sol, re, one cliff, two notes have I:
E la, mi, show pity or I die.'
Here Hortensio puts in his love-verses under the guise of a
The lines may be taken separately as fantastic commentaries on the
syllables themselves, as well as having their ulterior meaning for
For instance, Gam-ut the _lowest_ note then recognised in the scale,
is called 'the _ground_ of all _accord_.' A-re, I suppose, represents
the lover's sigh 'to plead his passion.' B-mi, may be twisted into 'Be
mine,' by the light of the remaining words in the line; while 'D sol
re, one cliff, two notes have I' obviously refers to Hortensio's
disguise. The 'cliff' is what is now called a 'clef,' or 'key,'
because its position on the staff gave the 'key' to the position of
the semitones and tones on the various lines and spaces. The six notes
here mentioned are the G, A, B, C, D, E, in the bass staff. They could
only be written (as they are yet) in _one_ clef--namely, the F clef.
The expression 'two notes have I,' as applied to the D, means that, in
the key of G, D is called Sol; while in the key of C it would have the
name Re; just as Hortensio is Hortensio, and at the same time
masquerades as a singing-master.
It has been mentioned that the art of adding an extempore counterpoint
to a written melody was called 'descant.' The written melody itself
was called the 'Plain-song,' and hence the whole performance,
plainsong and descant together, came to be known by the term
'Plain-song,' as opposed to the performance of plainsong with a
_written_ descant; which was known as 'Prick-song.'
Morley gives us a clear idea that the extempore descant was often a
very unsatisfactory performance, at any rate when it was attempted to
add more than one extempore part at a time to the plainsong. As he
says--'For though they should all be moste excellent men ... it is
unpossible for them to be true one to another.' The following passage
will be more clear on this light.
_H. 5._ III, ii, 3. Fight at Harfleur.
_Nym._ Pray thee, corporal, stay: ... the humour of it is
too hot, that is the very _plain-song_ of it.
_Pistol._ _The plain-song is most just_, for humours do
* * * * *
_Boy_ (speaks of the 3 rogues).... They will steal anything,
and call it purchase. Bardolph _stole a lute-case_, bore it
twelve leagues, and _sold it for three half-pence_.
Falstaff's worthy body-guard are getting tired of hard knocks in
fight; Nym compares their late activity to a somewhat florid
'plain-song' [meaning an extempore descant, as explained above];
Pistol says it is a 'just' plainsong. A 'just' plainsong would mean
that the singer had managed his extempore descant 'without singing
eyther false chords or forbidden descant one to another.' Similarly,
there is little doubt that both Ancient and Corporal managed to take a
part in the skirmishings with as little damage as possible to their
The speech of the boy at l. 41 hardly enrols Bardolph amongst music
lovers. At all events he stole a lute-case, and seems to have liked it
so much that he carried it 36 miles before his worser nature prevailed
on him to sell it for 1-1/2d.
The next quotation still concerns Jack Falstaff and his crew, all of
whom (and strictly in accordance with history) seem to have been sound
practical musicians. This time they are speaking, not of descant, but
of Prick-song. The chiefest virtue in the performance of Prick-song,
by which Falstaff and Nym probably understood both sacred and secular
part-music, is that a man should 'keep time,' religiously counting his
rests, 'one, two, three, and the third in your bosom,' and when he
begins to sing, that he should 'keep time, distance, and proportion,'
as Mercutio says Tybalt did in his fencing, see _Romeo_ II, iv, 20.
All this is thoroughly appreciated by Falstaff and his corporal in the
_Merry Wiv._ I, iii, 25.
_Falstaff_ (of Bardolph) ... his thefts were too open; his
filching was _like an unskilful singer_, he _kept not time_.
_Nym._ The good humour is to _steal at a minim's rest_.
['Minims' is a modern conjecture.]
The metaphor is of an anthem or madrigal, say in four parts. We will
suppose the Hostess of the 'Garter' is taking the _Cantus_, a tapster
the _Altus_, mine Host the _Tenor_, and Nym the _Bassus_. The three
former are all hard at work on their respective 'parts,' one in the
kitchen, another in the taproom, the third in familiar converse
outside the front door. But Nym has 'a minim rest,' and during that
short respite takes advantage of the absorbing occupations of the
other three 'singers' to lay hands on whatever portable property is
within his reach. 'A minim rest' is not much--but the point remains.
Any musician has had experience of what can be done during a short
'rest'--_e.g._, to resin his bow, or turn up the corners of the next
few pages of his music, light the gas, or find his place in another
By an easy transition we pass to the following:--
_Pericles_ I, i, 81. Pericles addresses the daughter of King
_Per._ You're a _fair viol_, and _your sense the strings_,
Who, _finger'd_ to make man his _lawful music_,
Would draw heaven down and all the gods to hearken;
But being _play'd upon before your time_,
Hell only danceth at so harsh a chime.
Pericles compares the lawful love of a wife with the performance of a
good viol player, the proper characteristics of which would be, 'in
tune,' and 'in time.' The comparison in l. 84 is of this girl's
lawless passion with the 'disorder'd' playing of a bad violist, who
has got 'out,' as we say; who is playing 'before his time,' thus
entirely spoiling the music, which becomes a dance for devils rather
The viol was decidedly the most important stringed instrument played
with a bow that was in use in Elizabethan times. There were three
The reader will get a sufficiently accurate idea, both of the sizes
and the use of viols, if he will consider the treble viol to have
corresponded closely with our modern violin, the tenor viol to the
modern viola [which is also called Alto, Tenor, or Bratsche--_i.e._,
braccio, 'arm' fiddle], and the bass-viol, or viol-da-gamba [so called
because held between the knees], to the modern violoncello.
The principal difference from our modern stringed instruments was that
all the viols had _six_ strings, whereas now there is no 'fiddle' of
any sort with more than four. A secondary difference was, that all the
viol family had _frets_ on the fingerboard to mark out the notes,
whereas the finger-boards of all our modern instruments are smooth,
and the finger of the performer has to do without any help of that
[Footnote 7: See Frontispiece.]
John Playford, in 1683, published his 'Introduction to the Skill of
Music,' which gives an account of the viols, and Thomas Mace, of
Cambridge, lay clerk of Trinity, in his 'Musick's Monument,' pub.
1676, gives full instructions how many viols and other instruments of
this kind are necessary. From these we learn that viols were always
kept in sets of six--two trebles, two tenors, and two basses--which
set was technically known as a 'Chest' of viols. Mace also says that
the treble viol had its strings just half the length of the bass viol,
and the tenor was of a medium size between these. Also he says that if
you add to these a couple of violins (which were then thought somewhat
vulgar, loud instruments) for jovial occasions, and a pair of 'lusty,
full-sized Theorboes,' 'you have a ready entertainment for the
greatest prince in the world.'
[Footnote 8: Theorbo, a lute with a double neck; so called from
Tiorba, a mortar for pounding perfumes, referring to the basin-shaped
back of a lute.]
The tuning of the six strings on the _bass_-viol was, on the bass
staff, 1st string, or treble, D over the staff; 2nd or small mean, A
on the top line; 3rd or great mean, E in the third space; 4th or
counter-tenor, C in the second space; 5th or tenor, or gamut, G on the
first line; and the 6th or bass, low D, under the staff. On the most
complete viol there would be seven frets, arranged semitonally, so the
compass of the Bass Viol or Viol da Gamba would be about two octaves
and a half, from D under the bass staff to A on the second space of
the treble staff. [In South Kensington Museum is a Viol da Gamba with
no less than twelve frets still remaining. This would make the compass
nearly _three_ octaves.]
The tenor-viol had its top string tuned to G on the second line of the
treble staff; and the remaining five were the same in pitch as the top
five on the bass viol. The treble viol (as mentioned above) was tuned
exactly an octave above the bass.
The tone of the viols is very much like that of our modern bowed
instruments, the principal difference being that they are a little
feebler, and naturally more calm. The reason is that vigorous 'bowing'
is a risky thing on the viol, for, as there are _six_ strings on the
arc of the bridge, more care is required to avoid striking two or even
three at once than on the violin, which has only four.
The amateur of music would keep a 'Chest' of six Viols in his house,
and when his musical friends visited him, they would generally play
'Fancies' (or Fantasias) see _H. 4. B._ III, ii, 323, in several
parts, from two to the full six, according to the number of those
present. Amongst a great number of composers of this kind of music,
some very well known names are, John Jenkins, Chris. Sympson, William
Lawes, Coperario (John Cooper), and the Italian Monteverde. It was
common for the Organ or other keyed instrument to join with the viols
in these pieces, and thus fill out the chords of the 'consort,' as it
We still have one of the viol tribe left in our orchestra. The
double-bass (or viol-one) is lineal descendant of the Chest of viols.
Its shape, especially at the shoulders, is quite characteristic, and
elsewhere--_e.g._, the blunt curves of the waist, the outline of the
back, and even the shape of the bow.
The practice of playing extempore variations on n contains interesting allusions to the
peculiarities of the lute. Lines 22-25 are very naturally accounted
for. The lute, having at least eleven strings, took a long time to get
into tune. Even our modern violins, with only four strings, want
constant attention in this respect; and the lute, therefore,
especially in the hands of an amateur, might well get a name for being
a troublesome instrument. The reference to the 'treble' and 'bass'
strings (_i.e._, the 1st and 6th) has been explained before. 'Spit in
the hole, man,' Lucentio's very rude advice to Hortensio, will direct
our attention to the variously shaped 'holes' which were made in the
belly of all stringed instruments to let out the sound. On the lute,
this hole was commonly a circular opening, not clearly cut out, but
fretted in a circle of small holes with a star in the middle. But this
was not the only way. A lute in South Kensington Museum has _three_
round holes, placed in an oblique line, nearly at the bottom of the
instrument. The holes on the viol were generally in the form of
crescents, and were put one on each side of the bridge. On the modern
violins, as everybody has seen, they are in the shape of
[Illustration], and are known as '_f_' holes.
[Footnote 14: See Frontispiece.]
Line 59, about 'lessons in three parts,' is of interest. Primarily, it
is another form of 'Two's company, three is none'--but its musical
meaning is very plainly present. In the 16th and 17th centuries it was
very common to call the pieces of music in any volume for an
instrument by the name 'Lessons.' The first meaning, of course, was
that they were examples for the pupil in music, but the word was used
quite freely with the purely general signification of 'Pieces' or
One more word deserves remark--viz., 'to touch,' in line 63. This is
used technically, and means strictly 'to play' on the instrument. The
word comes both in meaning and form from Ital., _toccare_.
_Toccata_ was a common word for a Prelude (often extempore), intended
as a kind of introduction to two or three more formal movements. The
Italian for a peal of bells is _tocco di campana_, and we have the
word in English under the form _tocsin_, an alarm bell. The
trumpet-call known as 'Tucket,' which occurs seven times in the stage
directions of six Shakespeare plays, and is also found once in the
text (_Henry V._ IV, ii, 35), also is derived from _toccare_.
Similarly with the German 'Tusch,' a flourish of trumpets and other
brass instruments, which may be heard under that name to the present
The next passage confirms Morley's account of the high estimation in
which music was held as a part of a liberal education. Baptista
evidently considers 'good bringing up' to include 'music, instruments,
and poetry.' Moreover, the visiting master was to be well paid,--'to
cunning men I will be very kind.'
_Shrew_ I, i, 81.
_Bianca._ Sir to your pleasure humbly I subscribe:
My books, and _instruments_, shall be my company,
On them to look, and _practise by myself_.
* * * * *
_Baptista_ (To Hortensio and Gremio).
Go in, Bianca. [_Exit_ Bianca].
And for I know, she taketh most delight
In _music_, _instruments_, and _poetry_,
Schoolmasters will I keep within my house,
Fit to instruct her youth.--If you, Hortensio,
Or Signior Gremio, you, know any such,
Refer them hither; for _to cunning men
I will be very kind_, and liberal
To mine own children in _good bringing up_.
We find further on, in the same play, that to bring one's lady-love a
music master was thought a handsome compliment.
_Shrew_ I, ii, 170.
_Hortensio._ 'Tis well: and I have met a gentleman,
Hath promis'd me to help me to another,
_A fine musician to instruct our mistress_.
Moreover, in _Pericles_ IV, vi, 185, we find that Marina, daughter of
Prince Pericles, can '_sing_, weave, sew, and _dance_.' Also see V, i,
78, where Marina actually does sing, to rouse her father from his
SONGS AND SINGING
It is impossible here to give even an outline of the history of Songs
and Singing in England. The general statement must suffice that vocal
music, accompanied by viols and harps, with songs and catches, were
common in the year 1230 in France; and any reader of Chaucer and Gower
may see for himself that vocal music was flourishing in the 14th
century in England. The English Round or Catch, mentioned above,
'Sumer is icumen in,' is most probably of the 13th century, and that
alone would be sufficient to characterise the popular vocal music of
that day. This composition is advanced in every way, being very
melodious, and at the same time showing that vocal harmony (_i.e._,
singing in parts) was greatly appreciated.
To proceed to a time nearer the age with which we are concerned--in
Henry VII.'s reign, there were many songs written, some for voices
only, and some with instrumental accompaniment. Amongst the former
are two songs in three parts, the music by William Cornyshe, Junior,
which are given in Hawkins.
Skelton wrote the words of the first, 'Ah, beshrew you by my fay,'
which is very coarse in tone, as was frequently the case with him; and
the second one, 'Hoyday, jolly ruttekin,' is a satire on the drunken
habits of the Flemings who came over with Anne of Cleves. Mrs Page
(_Wiv._ II, i, 23) refers to these Dutchmen, where, after receiving
Falstaff's love-letter, she exclaims, 'what an unweighed behaviour
hath this _Flemish Drunkard_ picked (with the devil's name!) out of my
conversation, that he dares in this manner assay me?'
The following is a curious picture by 'Skelton, Laureate,' of an
ignorant singer, who appears to have been throwing mud at the poet.
Skelton gives us a sad account both of his morals and his music.
The 3rd verse begins--
With hey troly loly, lo whip here Jak,
Alumbek, sodyldym syllorym ben,
Curiously he can both _counter_ and knak,
Of Martin Swart, and all his merry men;
Lord, how Perkyn is proud of his Pohen,
But ask wher he findeth among his _monachords_
An holy-water-clark a ruler of lordes.
He cannot fynd it in _rule_ nor in _space_,
He _solfyth_ too haute, hys _trybyll_ is too high,
He braggyth of his byrth that borne was full base,
Hys musyk _withoute mesure, too sharp_, is _his 'my'_,
He trymmeth in his _tenor_ to _counter_ pardy,
His _descant_ is besy, it is without a _mene_,
Too fat is his fantsy, his wyt is too lene.
He tumbryth on a _lewde lewte_, Rotybulle Joyse,
Rumbill downe, tumbill downe, hey go, now now,
He _fumblyth in his fyngering_ an ugly rude noise,
It seemyth the sobbyng of an old sow:
He wolde be made moch of, and he wyst how;
Well sped in spindels and tuning of travellys
A bungler, a brawler, a picker of quarrels.
Comely he clappyth a _payre of clavicordys_
He _whystelyth_ so swetely he maketh me to swet,
His _discant_ is dashed full of _discordes_,
A red angry man, but easy to intrete; etc.
[Footnote 15: 'Besy,' that is, 'busy,' meaning 'fussy,' a bad fault in
descant, as it is to this day in counterpoint.]
Further on we read--
For lordes and ladyes lerne at his scole,
He techyth them so wysely to _solf_ and to _fayne_,
That neither they sing wel _prike-song_ nor _plain_.
Skelton's main objection to this person is that he, being in reality
of very humble origin, presumed on his very doubtful musical abilities
to gain a footing amongst his betters. As he says, 'For Jak wold be a
Jentilman that late was a grome.'
Evidently 'Jak' had managed to make good his position as a fashionable
teacher of singing, in spite of the defects plainly mentioned in the
above verses. In the first verse, 'counter' is a musical term, here
used with the meaning of 'to embroider' the tale. 'Knack' is still
used in Yorkshire for 'affected talk.' 'Monachord' is the ancient
one-stringed fiddle called Tromba Marina, and is here used as a joke
on 'monachi' or 'holy water clarks.' In verse 2, '_rule_ and space' is
simply 'line and space,' _i.e._, on the musical staff. 'Solfyth too
haute' is 'Solfa's too high.' The 'my' which was 'too sharp' is the
Mi, the seventh note of the scale, mentioned above as the critical
point in Solfa. In verse 3, 'lewde lewte' means merely 'vulgar lute';
and 'Rotybulle Joyse' is the title of an old song. The 'payre of
clavicordys' is the clavichord, which in 1536 was a keyed instrument
of much the same kind as the virginals, with about three and a
half octaves. It was used by nuns, and therefore had its strings
muffled with bits of cloth to deaden the sound.
[Footnote 16: It was the _German_ clavichord that had 'tangents' of
brass at the ends of the key levers. These tangents cut off the proper
length of the string, and made it sound at the same time. The Italians
called an instrument with a 'jack' action like the virginal by the
The last three lines quoted mention 'solfa' and 'fayne.' The latter is
'feigned' music, or Musica Ficta, which at this time was the art of
dislocating the 'Mi,' so as to change the key. It was seldom that more
than one flat was found in those days, and this would move the Mi from
_B_ to _E_, thus constituting 'fayned' music.
This account will give a general idea of the kind of songs and singing
that were to be found in 1500.
Popular songs, 'Rotybulle Joyse,' with a burden of 'Rumbill downe,
tumbill downe,' etc., accompanied by a 'lewde lewte'; clavichord
playing; solfaing; singing of both 'prick-' and 'plain-' song, with
Musica Ficta; besides the delectable art of 'whysteling'; seem to have
been matters in ordinary practice at the beginning of the 16th
century. Add to these the songs in three parts, with rounds or catches
for several voices, and we have no mean list of musicianly
accomplishments, which the men of Shakespeare's day might inherit.
In Shakespeare, besides the songs most commonly known (some of which
are by earlier authors), there are allusions to many kinds of vocal
music, and scraps of the actual words of old songs--some with
accompaniment, some without; a duet; a trio; a chorus; not to mention
several rounds, either quoted or alluded to.
It will be useful here to refer to a few of these less known examples.
_L.L.L._ I, ii, 106. The Ballad of 'The King and the Beggar.' Moth
says "The world was very guilty of such a ballad some three ages
since; but I think now 'tis not to be found; or, if it were, it would
neither serve for the writing, nor the tune."
_Id._ III, i, 2. Moth begins a song 'Concolinel,' which Armado calls a
Various snatches of ballads, ancient and modern--_e.g._,
(_a_) By Falstaff. _H. 4. B._ II, iv, 32, 'When Arthur first in court
began,' 'And was a worthy king.'
(_b_) By Master Silence. _H. 4. B._ V, iii, 18. 'Do nothing but eat,
and make good cheer,' etc.; 'Be merry, be merry, my wife has all,'
etc.; 'A cup of wine, that's brisk and fine,' etc. 'Fill the cup, and
let it come,' etc.; 'Do me right, And dub me knight,' etc.; 'and Robin
Hood, Scarlet, and John.'
(_c_) By Benedick, _Much Ado_ V, ii, 23. 'The god of love.'
(_d_) The old tune 'Light o' love' [see Appendix], the original words
of which are unknown. _Much Ado_ III, iv, 41, 'Clap us into "Light o'
love;" that goes without a burden; do you sing it, and I'll dance it.'
Here is one verse of 'A very proper Dittie,' to the tune of "Lightie
Love" (date 1570).
"By force I am fixed my fancie to write,
Ingratitude willeth me not to refrain:
Then blame me not, Ladies, although I indite
What lighty love now amongst you doth rayne,
Your traces in places, with outward allurements,
Dothe moove my endevour to be the more playne:
Your nicyngs and tycings, with sundrie procurements,
To publish your lightie love doth me constraine."
There were several songs of the 16th century that went to this tune.
See also Shakespeare, _Gent._ I, ii, 80, and Fletcher, _Two Noble
Kinsmen_ V, ii, 54.
(_e_) Song by Parson Evans, _Wiv._ III, i, 18; 'To shallow rivers,'
for words of which see Marlowe's 'Come live with me,' printed in the
'Passionate Pilgrim,' Part xx. [see tunes in Appendix]. Sir Hugh is in
a state of nervous excitement, and the word 'rivers' brings 'Babylon'
into his head, so he goes on mixing up a portion of the version of Ps.
cxxxvii. with Marlowe.
(_f_) By Sir Toby. _Tw. Nt._ II, iii, 79, 85, 102. Peg-a-Ramsey,
'Three merry men be we,' 'There dwelt a man in Babylon,' 'O! the
twelfth day of December,' 'Farewell, dear heart.' [For tunes, see
(_g_) _As You Like It_ II, v. Song with Chorus, 'Under the greenwood
tree,' 2nd verse '_all together here_.'
(_h_) By Pandarus, _Troil._ III, i, 116. Song, 'Love, love, nothing
but love,' accompanied on an 'instrument' by the singer himself.
(_i_) Another, _Id._ IV, iv, 14, 'O heart, heavy heart.'
(_j_) _Lear_ I, iv, 168, two verses sung by the Fool, 'Fools had ne'er
less grace in a year.'
(_k_) Ballads by Autolycus, _Winter's Tale_ IV, ii, 1, 15. 'When
daffodils,' 'But shall I go mourn for that.' _Id._ sc. ii. end, 'Jog
on' [see Appendix]; _Id._ sc. iii. 198, 'Whoop, do me no harm, good
man' [Appendix]; _Id._ l. 219, 'Lawn, as white as driven snow'; _Id._
l. 262, Ballad of the 'Usurer's wife,' to a 'very doleful tune'; _Id._
l. 275, Ballad of a Fish, 'very pitiful'; _Id._ l. 297, A song _in
three parts_, to the tune of 'Two maids wooing a man,' "Get you hence,
for I must go"; _Id._ l. 319, Song, 'Will you buy any tape' (_cf._ The
round by Jenkins, b. 1592, 'Come, pretty maidens,' see Rimbault's
Rounds, Canons, and Catches).
(_l_) Duet by King Cymbeline's two sons; Funeral Song over Imogen,
_Cymb._ IV, ii, 258, 'Fear no more the heat of the sun.'
(_m_) Stephano's 'scurvy tunes,' _Temp._ II, ii, 41, 'I shall no more
to sea,' 'The master, the swabber,' etc. [Appendix]. _Id._ l. 175,
Caliban's Song, 'Farewell, master,' etc.
(_n_) Song accompanied by lute. _H._ 8. III, i. 'Orpheus.'
Besides these there are allusions to the names of various popular
tunes and catches, of which the music is still to be had. Amongst
'The Hunt is up' [Appendix]. See _Rom. and Jul._ III, v, 34. Juliet
says of the lark's song, 'that voice doth us affray, Hunting thee
hence with _hunts-up_ to the day.' Any rousing morning song, even a
love-song, was called a _hunts-up_. The tune of this song was also
sung (in 1584) to 'O sweete Olyver, leave me not behind the,' but
altering the time to 4 in a bar. See _As You Like It_ III, iii, 95.
'Heart's ease' [Appendix], the words of which are not known. Tune
before 1560. See _Romeo_ IV, v, 100.
_Id._, 'My heart is full of woe.'
_Id._ l. 125. 'When griping grief' [Appendix], by Richard Edwards,
gentleman of Queen Elizabeth's Chapel, printed in the 'Paradyse of
daynty Devises' (printed 1577). Hawkins gives four verses, the first
of which is here quoted by Shakespeare, but with several variations--
'_Where_ griping grief the hart _would_ wound,
And doleful domps the mind oppresse,
_There_ Musick with her silver sound
_Is wont with spede to give_ redresse;
Of troubled minds, for every sore,
Swete Musick hath a salve in store.'
The last verse is charming--
'Oh heavenly gift, that turnes the minde,
Like as the sterne doth rule the ship,
Of musick whom the Gods assignde,
To comfort man whom cares would nip;
Sith thou both man and beast doest move,
What wise man then will thee reprove.'
'Green Sleeves' [Appendix].
_Wiv._ II, i, 60.
_Mrs Ford._ ... I would have sworn his disposition
[Falstaff's] would have gone to the truth of his words; but
they do _no more adhere_ and _keep place_ together, than the
_Hundredth Psalm_ to the _tune of 'Green Sleeves_.'
Also see _Wiv._ V, v, 20. The tune is given in its most complete form
by Chappell, and is probably r alone, in
_Twelfth Night_ III, i.
The Bagpipe was very similar to the instruments of that name which
still exist. At the present moment there are four kinds in
use--Highland Scotch, Lowland Scotch, Northumbrian, and Irish. The
last has bellows instead of a 'bag,' but in other ways they are very
much alike. They all have 'drones,' which sound a particular note or
notes continually, while the tune is played on the 'chanter.'
Shakespeare himself tells us of another variety--viz., the
Lincolnshire bagpipe, in _Hen. 4. A._ I, ii, 76, where Falstaff
compares his low spirits to the melancholy 'drone of a Lincolnshire
[Footnote 17: The Bagpipe appears on a coin of Nero. Also there is a
figure of an _angel_ playing it, in a crosier given by William of
Wykeham to New Coll., Oxon., in 1403.]
[Footnote 18: What is a 'woollen bagpipe'? See _Merchant_ IV, i, 55.]
The servant's second speech refers to the character of the words of
the popular ballads, which were too often coarse and even indecent.
'Love-songs' are quite a large class, frequently referred to. For
instance, _Two Gent._ II, i, 15.
_Val._ Why, how know you that I am in love?
_Speed._ Marry by these special marks.
First, you have learn'd ...
_To relish a love song_, like a robin-redbreast;
_Rom._ II, iv, 15.
_Mercutio._ 'Alas, poor Romeo! he is already dead;
... run thorough the ear _with a love-song_.'
besides the passage from _Twelfth Nt._ II, iii, quoted further on,
where Feste offers Sir Toby and Sir Andrew their choice between 'a
love-song, or a song of good life.'
The 'delicate burdens,' 'dildos and fadings,' 'jump her and thump
her,' are to be found in examples of the period. A Round of Matt.
White, 'The Courtier scorns the country clowns' (date about 1600) has
for its third and last line 'With a fading, fading, fading, fading,'
call me knave. _Begin_, fool: it begins, "_Hold thy peace_."
_Clo._ I shall never begin, if I hold my peace.
_Sir And._ Good, i'faith. Come, begin.
[_They sing a catch._]
_Mar._ What a caterwauling do you keep here!
* * * * *
_Sir To._ My lady's a Cataian; we are politicians;
Malvolio's a Peg-a-Ramsey, and "_Three merry men be we_."...
_Tilly-valley_, lady! [_Sings._] "There dwelt a man in
Babylon, lady, lady!"
* * * * *
_Sir To._ [_Sings._] "O! the twelfth day of December."----
_Mar._ For the love o'God, peace!
_Mal._ My masters, are you mad? or what are you? Have you no
wit, manners, nor honesty, but to _gabble like tinkers_ at
this time of night? Do ye make an _alehouse_ of my lady's
house, that ye squeak out your _cozier's catches_ without
any mitigation or remorse of voice? Is there no respect of
place, persons, or _time_ in you?
_Sir To._ _We did keep time, sir, in our catches._ Sneck up!
L. 103-114, another song, "Farewell, dear heart" [Appendix].
It is perhaps necessary to explain the nature of a Catch, or Round,
more clearly. The two names were interchangeable in the 16th and 17th
centuries. It was not till quite modern times that 'Catch' implied a
necessary quibble in the words, deliberately arranged by the writer.
First, a Catch or Round of the best type of Elizabethan times
consisted of _one melody_, generally perfectly continuous. Secondly,
the said melody was always divisible into a certain number of _equal
sections_, varying from three to six, or even eight; and as many
sections as there were, so many voices were necessary. Thirdly, each
of these equal sections was deliberately arranged so as to make
_Harmony_ with every other.
Here are the words of a Round of the 17th century, which is divisible
into three equal sections, and therefore is sung by three voices.
1. 'Cuckoo! Hark! how he sings to us.
2. Good news the cuckoo brings to us;
3. Spring is here, says the cuckoo.'
Now, the way for three persons, A, B, and C, to sing this Catch or
Round, is as follows:--
A begins [see above, line 69, '_Begin_, fool'] line 1, and immediately
proceeds to line 2; at this very instant, B in his turn begins line 1,
and acts similarly. When A has reached the first syllable in line 3,
and B is at 'Good' in line 2, it is time for C also to begin at line
1. As soon as A has finished line 3, he begins again; and so on with
the others--'round' and 'round' till they are tired of 'catching' each
Thus when they are all three fairly set going, their _one_ melody
produces _three part_ harmony, and the catchers have drawn 'three
souls out of one weaver.'
The principle in all other Catches or Rounds is exactly the same,
however great the number of parts.
In the following we have another case of catch-singing. The original
music of 'Flout 'em' has not come down to us.
_Tempest_ III, ii, 122.
_Stephano._ Come on, Trinculo, _let us sing_.
[They sing a _catch_, 'Flout 'em and scout 'em.']
_Caliban._ That's not the tune. [Very likely, as they
[ARIEL _plays the tune on a tabor and pipe_.]
_Ste._ What is this same?
_Trin._ This is the _tune of our catch_, played by the
picture of Nobody.
* * * * *
_Cal._ Be not afeard; the isle is _full of noises_,
_Sounds_, and _sweet airs_, that give delight, and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand _twangling instruments_
Will hum about mine ears; and sometime _voices_, &c.
_Ste._ This will prove a brave kingdom to me, where I
_shall have my music for nothing_.
I would, I could _see_ this taborer: [Ariel] he _lays it
Also _Id._ III, ii, 119.
Stephano, like most of the scamps in Shakespeare, is a good musician.
He leads the catch, appreciates Ariel's tabor playing (l. 152), and is
overjoyed to think that he will have all his music 'for nothing' (l.
145) in the magical isle.
Finally, in the _Taming of the Shrew_, we have the title of another
old catch, of which the music has survived--viz., 'Jack, boy.'
_Shrew_ IV, i, 42.
_Curtis._ Therefore, good Grumio, the _news_.
_Grumio._ Why, "_Jack, boy! ho, boy!_" and as much _news_ as
The words of this catch, which takes four voices, are--
'Jack, boy, ho! boy, news;
The cat is in the well,
Let us ring now for her knell,
Ding, dong, ding, dong, bell.'
The music [see Appendix], like that of so many other catches, is
anonymous, and is of some date long before Shakespeare.
_As You_ V, iii, 7.
_Touchstone._ By my troth, well met. Come, sit, sit, and a
_2 Page._ We are for you; sit i' the middle.
_1 Page._ Shall we _clap into 't roundly, without hawking,
or spitting_, or _saying we are hoarse_, which are the _only
prologues to a bad voice_?
_2 Page._ I' faith, i' faith; and _both in a tune_, like two
gipsies on a horse.
[Song follows, 'It was a lover.' Could be sung as a _two_-part
madrigal quite easily. See Bridge's 'Shakespeare Songs,' for Morley's
_Touch._ Truly, young gentlemen, though there was no great
matter in the ditty, yet the _note_ was very _untuneable_.
_1 Page._ You are deceived, sir; _we kept time_; we _lost
not our time_.
_Touch._ By my troth, _yes_; I count it but _time lost_ to
hear such a foolish song. God be wi' you; and _God mend your
voices_. Come, Audrey.
The First Page's speech at l. 9. is most humorously appropriate. 'Both
in a tune, like two gipsies on a horse,' is a quaint description of a
duet. There is yet another pun on 'lost time' in ll. 36-8.
Jaques' cynicism comes out even in his limited dealings with music.
_As You_ IV, ii, 5.
_Jaques._ Have you no _song_, forester, for this purpose?
_2 Lord._ Yes, sir.
_Jaq._ Sing it; _'tis no matter how it be in tune, so it
make noise enough_.
Song follows, 'What shall he have, that kill'd the deer,' Rimbault, p.
19. Music by Hilton, date about 1600, probably the original setting, a
Round for four foresters.
This section will conclude with two quotations about singing of a more
_Tw._ II, iv, 1.
_Duke._ _Give me some music._--Now, good morrow, friends.
Now, good Cesario, but that _piece of song_,
That _old and antique song_, we heard last night;
Methought, it did relieve my passion much,
More than _light airs_, ...
Come; but _one verse_.
_Curio._ He is not here, so please your lordship, that
should sing it.
_Duke._ Who was it?
_Cur._ Feste, the jester, my lord: ...
_Duke._ Seek him out, and _play the tune the while_.
[To Cesario]--How dost thou like _this tune_?
_Viola._ _It gives a very echo_ to the seat
Where love is thron'd.
_Duke._ Mark it, Cesario; _it is old, and plain_;
[_Clown_ sings 'Come away, death.']
_Duke._ There's for thy pains.
_Clo._ _No pains, sir; I take pleasure in singing, sir._
_Duke._ I'll pay thy pleasure then.
'Light airs' in line 5 means 'vain fiddling jigs'--_i.e._, lively
instrumental music. Lines 20-22 and 43 are worth remembering for many
The next and last passage requires no remark, except that 'organ pipe
of frailty' means simply the voice of the dying king.
_King John_ V, vii, 10. Death of K. John.
_Prince Henry._ Doth he still rage?
_Pembroke._ He is more patient
Than when you left him: _even now he sung_.
_P. Hen._ _O vanity of sickness!..._
... 'Tis _strange that death should sing_.
I am the _cygnet_ to this pale faint _swan_,
Who _chants a doleful hymn_ to his own death,
And, from the _organ-pipe of frailty_, sings
His soul and body to their lasting rest.
SERENADES AND 'MUSIC'
The history of Serenades is as ancient as that of Songs. In the middle
of the 15th century, Sebastian Brant, a lawyer, wrote in Dutch his
'Stultifera Navis,' or 'Ship of Fools,' a severe satire on things in
general, and popular amusements in particular. The book was afterwards
translated into Latin, and thence into English. Here are some of the
verses that treat of Serenades in the year 1450.
'The furies fearful, sprong of the floudes of hell,
Bereft _these vagabonds_ in their minds, so
That by no meane can they abide ne dwell
Within their houses, but out they nede must go;
More wildly wandring then either bucke or doe.
Some with their _harpes_, another with their _lute_,
Another with his _bagpipe_, or a foolishe _flute_.
'Then measure they their _songes_ of melody
_Before the doores of their lemman deare_;
Howling with their foolishe songe and cry,
So that their lemman may their great folly heare:
'But yet moreover these fooles are so unwise,
That _in cold winter_ they use the same madness.
When all the houses are lade with snowe and yse,
O madmen amased, unstable, and witless!
What pleasure take you in this your foolishness?
What joy have ye to wander thus by night,
Save that _ill doers alway hate the light_?'
Another verse explains that not only the foolish young men of _low_
birth were given to this practice, but also--
'States themselves therein abuse,'
'With _some yonge fooles of the spiritualtie_:
The foolish _pipe_ without all gravitie
Doth eche degree call to his frantic game:
The darkness of night expelleth feare of shame.'
Brant had no great opinion of the music provided either. He describes
their singing before their lady's window--
'One barketh, another bleateth like a shepe;
Some rore, some _counter_, some their _ballads fayne_:
Another from singing geveth himself to wepe;
When his soveraigne lady hath of him disdayne.'
Finally--a Parthian shot--
'Standing in corners like as it were a spye,
Whether that the wether be whot, colde, wet, or dry.'
Thus, one hundred years before Shakespeare was born, Serenades of
voices and instruments were common, and in general practice by all
classes of young men, and not only laymen, but also yonge fooles of
The instruments mentioned are such as were still in use in
Shakespeare's time--viz., harp, lute, 'foolish' pipe, bagpipe, and
'foolish' flute, besides the several varieties of song, which
evidently included both solo and part singing--'feigned' ballads for a
single voice [ballads, that is, in the more refined 'keys' of 'Musica
Ficta'], and 'Countering,' which implies that two voices at least took
The following passage is an example of this nocturnal serenading by a
company of gentlemen.
_Two Gent._ III, ii, 83.
_Proteus_ (advises Thurio)
'Visit by night your lady's chamber window
With some _sweet concert_: to their _instruments_
Tune a _deploring dump_:'
_Thu._ And thy advice this night I'll put in practice.
Therefore, sweet Proteus, my direction-giver,
Let us into the city presently,
_To sort some gentlemen well skilled in music_.
Proteus advises Thurio to get a 'consort' (probably of viols) to play
a 'dump' under Silvia's window. He goes to arrange for some of his
friends to attend for this purpose. The serenade takes place in the
next Act, where, in the 2nd scene, line 17, it is called 'evening
music,' but does not include the 'dump,' for Thurio has 'a sonnet that
will serve the turn,' so they sing 'Who is Silvia.'
Here is the passage, which is full of quibbles on musical terms.
_Two Gent._ IV, ii, 16.
_Proteus._ ... 'Now must we to her window,
And give _some evening music to her ear_.'
_Thu._ ... Now, gentlemen,
_Host_ (to Julia, in boy's clothes). I'll bring you where
you shall _hear music_, and see the gentleman that you ask'd
_Jul._ But shall I _hear him speak_?
_Host._ Ay, that you shall.
_Jul._ _That will be music._
_Host._ How do you, man? (_i.e._, Julia) the _music likes
_Jul._ You mistake: the _musician_ (_i.e._, Proteus) _likes
_Host._ Why, my pretty youth?
_Jul._ He _plays false_, father.
_Host._ How? _out of tune on the strings_?
_Jul._ Not so; but yet _so false_, that he grieves my very
_Host._ You have a _quick ear_.
_Jul._ Ay; I would I were deaf! it makes me have a _slow
_Host._ I perceive, _you delight not in music_.
_Jul._ Not a whit, when it _jars_ so.
_Host._ Hark! what fine _change_ is in the music.
_Jul._ Ay, that _change_ (Proteus' unfaithfulness) is the
_Host_ (misunderstanding again). You would have them
_always_ play but _one thing_?
_Jul._ I would always have _one_ (Proteus) play but one
_Silvia_ (from window). 'I thank you for your music,
The next passage is of a serenade in the early morning. Cloten
arranges for the musicians (who seem in this case to be professional
players) to give two pieces, one instrumental, followed by a song.
_Cymbeline_ II, iii, 11. Cloten serenades Imogen.
_Cloten._ I would this _music would come_. I am advised to
give her _music o' mornings_; they say, it will penetrate.
Come on: _tune_. If you can penetrate her with your
_fingering_, so; we'll try with _tongue_ too: ... _First_, a
very excellent good-conceited thing; _after_, a wonderful
sweet air, with admirable rich words to it,--_and then_ let
[The musicians perform 'Hark! hark! the lark.']
So, get you gone. If this penetrate, I will consider your
_music the better_; if it do not, it is a vice in _her
ears_, which _horse-hairs_, and _calves'-guts_, ... can
In l. 14, 'fingering' and 'tongue' correspond to 'playing' and
'singing.' The first is to be a 'Fancy' for viols, 'a very excellent
good-conceited thing'; the second is the 'wonderful sweet air,' Hark!
hark! the lark.
'Good-conceited' means having many 'conceits.' These 'fancies' were
always contrapuntal, and the various artificial contrivances,
answering of points, imitations, and what not, are referred to under
this title. The mention of 'horse-hairs and calves'-guts' makes it
clear that the instruments in this 'morning music' were Viols.
Another 'evening music' is provided by Pericles, Prince of Tyre.
_Pericles_ II, v, 24. Pericles, a musician [his education had been 'in
_arts_ and arms,' see II, iii, 82].
_Per._ All fortune to the good Simonides!
_Sim._ To you as much, sir! _I am beholding to you
For your sweet music this last night_: I do
Protest, my ears were never better fed
With such _delightful pleasing harmony_.
_Per._ It is your grace's pleasure to commend,
Not my desert.
_Sim._ Sir, _you are music's master_.
_Per._ The worst of all her scholars, my good lord.
The next quotation is also of 'morning music,' but with a different
object--not a lady, but a soldier, and of a somewhat rough and ready
kind, to judge by the Clown's critical remarks.
The passage seems to indicate the use of Bagpipes; for 'they speak
in the _nose_' (see _Merchant_ IV, i, 48), and are called
_wind_-instruments, and are mentioned under the name 'pipes' in the
last two lines. Moreover, there is the remark of the Clown,
represented here by stars, which is terribly appropriate to that
_Othello_ III, i. Cassio brings musicians to salute Othello.
_Cass._ Masters, _play here_; I will content your pains:
Something that's brief; and bid "Good morrow, general."
_Clo._ Why, masters, _have your instruments been in Naples_,
that they _speak i' the nose_ thus?
_1 Mus._ How, sir, how?
_Clo._ Are these, I pray you, called _wind_-instruments?
_1 Mus._ Ay, marry, are they, sir.
* * * * *
_Clo._ ... masters, here's money for you; and _the general
so likes your music_, that _he desires you_, for love's
sake, _to make no more noise with it_.
_1 Mus._ Well, sir, we will not.
_Clo._ If you have _any music that may not be heard_, to't
again; but, as they say, to _hear_ music the general does
not greatly care.
_1 Mus._ _We have none such_, sir.
_Clo._ Then _put up your pipes in your bag_, for I'll away.
Go; vanish into air, away!
Pandarus appears to be a capital musician. In the following we find
him questioning a musical servant of Priam's palace about some
instrumental music which is going on within, 'at the request of
Paris.' The servant amuses himself by giving 'cross' answers to
Pandarus' crooked questions, and in the process gets out two or three
musical jokes--_e.g._, '_partly_ know,' 'music _in parts_,' '_wholly_,
sir.' Further on, Paris also plays on the term 'broken' music.
_Troilus and Cressida_ III, i, 19.
_Pandarus._ What music is this?
_Servant._ I do but _partly_ know, sir; it is _music in
_Pandarus._ Know you the _musicians_?
_Serv._ _Wholly_, sir.
_Pan._ Who play they to?
_Serv._ To the hearers, sir.
_Pan._ At whose pleasure, friend?
_Serv._ At mine, sir, and _theirs that love music_.
* * * * *
_Pan._ Fair prince, here is _good broken music_.
_Paris._ _You_ have _broke_ it, cousin; and, by my life, you
shall make it whole again: you shall _piece_ it out with a
_piece_ of your performance. [To _Helen_] Nell, he
[_Pandarus_] is _full of harmony_.
* * * * *
L.e crystal spheres,
Once bless our human ears,
If ye have power to touch our senses so;
And let your silver chime
Move in melodious time,
And let the bass of heaven's deep organ blow;
And, with your nine-fold harmony,
Make up full concert to the angelic symphony.'
No one could help thinking of the text in Job xxxviii. 7, 'When the
morning stars sang together,' in this connection, and Milton naturally
refers to it in the previous verse.
Here follow the two Shakespeare extracts. The second one is full of
beauty of every kind, but the Pythagoreanism is in the last six lines,
with Shakespeare's own view about _why_ we cannot hear the heavenly
_As You Like It_ II, vii, 5.
_Duke Senior_ [of Jaques].
If he, _compact of jars_, grow musical,
We shall have shortly _discord in the spheres_.
_Merchant_ V, i, 51.
_Lor._ My friend Stephano, signify, I pray you,
Within the house, your mistress [Portia] is at hand;
And _bring your music forth into the air_.
(Lorenzo and Jessica alone.)
_Lor._ How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!
Here we will sit, and _let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears: soft stillness and the night,
Become the touches of sweet harmony_.
* * * * *
There's not the _smallest orb_, which thou behold'st,
_But in his motion like an angel sings_,
Still _quiring_ to the young-ey'd cherubims;
Such harmony is in immortal souls;
But, _whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it_.
This is finer than Pythagoras.
The next three passages are concerned with the 'fantasie' of Music.
Jaques gives an opinion in a general form--viz., that the musician's
'melancholy' is 'fantastical'; Mariana and the Duke speak of a certain
_doubleness_ that may be noticed in the action of music on the mind.
Jessica is 'never merry' when she hears sweet music: Lorenzo descants
on the evident effects of music on even hardened natures; while
Portia and Nerissa preach a neat little sermon on the text 'Nothing is
good without respect,' with musical illustrations of the powerful
influence of time and place--_e.g._, the silence of night, makes the
music sound sweeter than by day; the crow sings as well as the lark,
if the circumstances favour the crow, or if the lark is not present to
give immediate comparison; and even the nightingale's song is no
better than the wren's, 'by day, when every goose is cackling.'
_As You_ IV, i, 13.
_Jaques._ I have neither the scholar's melancholy, which is
emulation; nor the _musician's_, which is _fantastical_,
_Measure for Measure_ IV, i, 12. Enter Duke, disguised as a friar
_Mariana._ I cry you mercy, sir; and well could wish
You had not found me here _so musical_:
Let me excuse me, and believe me so,
My _mirth it much displeased_, but _pleas'd my woe_.
_Duke._ 'Tis good: though _music oft hath such a charm,
To make bad good, and good provoke to harm_.
_Merchant_ V, i, 66. Enter musicians.
_Lor._ Come ho! and wake Diana with a _hymn_:
With sweetest _touches_ pierce your mistress' ear,
And draw her home _with music_.
_Jessica._ I am _never merry when I hear sweet music_.
_Lor._ The reason is, _your spirits are attentive_.
For ... _colts_,
* * * * *
_If they but hear_ perchance _a trumpet_ sound,
Or any _air of music touch their ears_,
You shall perceive them make a _mutual stand_,
Their savage eyes turn'd to a modest gaze.
_By the sweet power of music_: therefore, the poet
Did feign that Orpheus drew trees, stones, and floods:
Since nought so stockish, hard, and full of rage,
But _music for the time doth change his nature.
The man that hath no music in himself_,
Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus.
_Let no such man be trusted._--Mark the music.
L. 97. Portia and Nerissa.
_Por._ ... _Music! hark!_
_Ner._ It is your music, madam, _of the house._
_Por._ Nothing is good, I see, without respect.
Methinks, _it sounds much sweeter than by day_.
_Ner._ _Silence_ bestows that virtue on it, madam.
_Por._ The _crow_ doth sing as sweetly as the _lark,
When neither is attended_; and I think,
The _nightingale_, if she should sing _by day_,
When every goose is cackling, _would be thought
No better a musician than the wren_.
How many things _by season_ season'd are
To their right praise, and true perfection.
Here is an example of a superstitious meaning attaching to supposed
There are very few cases of this kind in Shakespeare--_i.e._, where
the music of the stage is an integral part of the drama.
_Antony and Cleop._ IV, iii, 12. Music of hautboys under the stage.
_4 Soldier._ ... Peace, what noise?
_1 Sold._ List, list!
_2 Sold._ Hark!
_1 Sold._ Music in the air.
_3 Sold._ Under the earth.
_4 Sold._ It signs well, does it not?
_3 Sold._ No.
_1 Sold._ Peace, I say!
What should this mean?
_2 Sold._ 'Tis the god Hercules, whom Antony lov'd,
Now leaves him.
A very usual popular amusement was the Masque, which would consist of
a public procession with decorated cars containing the characters,
accompanied by hobby horses, tumblers, and open air music. This is
referred to in the next passage, where Theseus speaks of the masque
as an 'abridgement' for the evening, that is, an entertainment to
shorten the hours. The lamentable play of Pyramus and Thisbe follows,
which, it will be noticed, has some of the main features of a masque.
_Mid's Night's Dream_ V, i, 39.
_Theseus._ Say, what abridgment have you for this evening?
_What masque, what music?_...
* * * * *
[Reads from the paper]
"A tedious brief scene of young Pyramus,
And his love Thisbe; very tragical mirth."
Merry and tragical! Tedious and brief!
That is, hot ice, and wonderous strange snow.
How shall we find the _concord of this discord_?
In the _Merchant of Venice_, Shylock mentions the procession of a
masque through the streets, forbidding Jessica to look out of the
window at these 'Christian fools with varnished faces.' The music
accompanying the procession is named--viz., drum and fife.
_Merchant_ II, v, 22.
_Lancelot._ 'You shall see a _masque_' ...
_Shylock._ What! are there _masques_?
Hear you me, Jessica.
Lock up my doors; and _when you hear the drum_,
And the _vile squeaking of the wryneck'd fife_,
Clamber not you up to the casements then,
Nor thrust your head into the public street
To gaze on _Christian fools with varnish'd faces_.
The 'vile squeaking of the wryneck'd fife' is of some musical
interest. The adjective 'wryneck'd' refers, not to the instrument
itself, which was straight, but to the player, whose head has to be
slightly twisted round to get at the mouthpiece. Mersennus (b. 1588)
says that the Fife is the same as the Tibia Helvetica, which was
simply a small edition of the Flauto Traverso, or German Flute. That
is, the Fife of those days was much the same as the modern Fife of the
cheaper persons in it; twice it is connected
with the advent of Royal Heralds; and once with the arrival of Players
(_Shrew_, Prologue. See also Flourish).
Thus 'Trumpets' divides the honours with 'Flourish' as the mark of
Examples of the use of the term in the text are numerous, and are
found in most of the plays. They are not generally of very special
_Music, Music plays, Music within._
This direction is found 41 times in twenty-two plays, half of which
In 8 cases we have _Music_ during a speech or dream of one of the
characters; 7 times as the symphony or the accompaniment to a Song; 7
times in Wedding processions or Pageants; 6 times for Dancing; and 5
times during a banquet.
To give a just idea of the amount of Stage Music considered necessary
in or near Shakespeare's time, there must be added to the above, all
the stage directions in other terms--_e.g._, _Hautboys_, which is
found about 14 times.
Here are a few relics of Stage Music before Shakespeare's day.
The playing of the minstrels is frequently mentioned in the old
Miracle Plays, and the instruments used were the horn, pipe, tabret,
and flute. In the Prologue to the Miracle Play, Childermas Day, 1512,
the minstrels are requested to 'do their diligence,' and at the end of
the Play to 'geve us a daunce.'
In Richard Edwards's _Damon and Pithias_ [Transcriber's Note:
'Pithias' is correct for the title of this play], acted in 1565,
there is a stage direction. "Here Pythias sings and the regalles
play." Also, when Pythias is carried to prison, "the regalls play a
mourning song." Thus the Regal, a tiny organ that could be easily
carried about, was considered a proper instrument for the stage. In
the old Comedy, Gammer Gurton's Needle, 1566, mention is made by one
of the characters of the music between the acts--
"Into the town will I, my friendes to visit there,
And hither straight again to see the end of this gere;
_In the meantime, fellowes, pype up your fidles_: I say take them,
And let your friends hear such mirth as ye can make them."
In Gascoyne's _Jocasta_, 1566, each act is preceded by a dumb show,
accompanied by "viols, cythren, bandores, flutes, cornets, trumpets,
drums, fifes, and still-pipes." In Anthony Munday's comedy _The Two
Italian Gentlemen_ (about 1584), the different kinds of music to be
played after each act are mentioned--_e.g._, 'a pleasant galliard,' 'a
solemn dump,' or 'a pleasant Allemayne.' A little later, Marston, in
his _Sophonisba_, 1606, goes into considerable detail as to the music
between the Acts; after Act I., 'the cornets and organs playing loud
full music'; after Act II., 'organs mixed with recorders'; after Act
III., 'organs, viols, and voices'; after Act IV., 'a base lute and a
treble viol'; and in the course of Act V., 'infernall music plays
softly.' Fiddles, flutes, and hautboys are mentioned by other
dramatists as instruments in use at the theatre at this time.
Rimbault's Introduction to Purcell's opera 'Bonduca' gives the names
of twenty-six Masques and Plays produced between 1586 and 1642 (when
the theatres were closed), all of which contained important music.
Amongst them are Jane Shore, by Henry Lacy, 1586, with music by
William Byrd; seven masques by Ben Jonson, dating 1600-1621, four of
which had music by Ferrabosco; a masque by Beaumont (1612) with music
by Coperario; a play Valentinian, by Beaumont and Fletcher (1617) set
by Robt. Johnson; The Triumphs of Peace by Shirley (1633), with music
by William Lawes and Simon Ives; several other masques, set by Henry
Lawes, who did the music to Milton's _Comus_ (1634), etc. The list
also includes Shakespeare's _Tempest_, with Robt. Johnson's music, two
numbers of which, viz., 'Full fathom five,' and 'Where the bee sucks,'
are printed in Bridge's Shakespeare's Songs, with date 1612.
_Retreat_, or _A Retreat sounded_, generally with Alarum, or
Excursions, or with both.
_Retreat_ by itself occurs only three times, but in company with
Alarums and [or] Excursions may be found in 16 other places. The whole
19 cases occur in eleven plays.
The word explains itself. The actual notes of a Retreat of
Shakespeare's time are not known.
In the text it has the same meaning.
_H. 6. A._ II, ii, 3. 'Here sound retreat, and cease our hot pursuit.'
_H. 6. B._ IV, viii, 4. 'Dare any be so bold to sound retreat or
parley, when I command them kill'?
_H. 4. A._ V, iv, 159. 'The trumpet sounds retreat; the day is ours.'
_H. 5._ III, ii, 89. _Macmorris_, 'the work ish give over, the trumpet
sound the retreat.'
_March, Dead March._
There are 18 marches provided for altogether; 4 are Dead Marches; 3
National--viz., English, French, and Danish; and 11 ordinary military
Probably all are identified with _Drums_, without any other
instruments. For the three national marches, see _H. 6. A._ III, iii,
30 and 33 [Transcriber's Note: Added missing scene number], and
_Hamlet_ III, ii, 91.
Hawkins gives (Hist., p. 229) the text of a Royal Warrant of Charles
I., ordering the revival of the ancient 'march of this our English
nation, so famous in all the honourable achievements and glorious wars
of this our kingdome in forraigne parts [being by the approbation of
strangers themselves confest and acknowledged the best of all
marches].' The warrant goes on to say that this ancient war march of
England 'was, through the negligence and carelessness of drummers, and
by long discontinuance, so altered and changed from the ancient
gravitie and majestie thereof, as it was in danger utterly to have
bene lost and forgotten.' It appears that 'our late deare brother
prince Henry' had taken steps to have the old march restored, at
Greenwich, in 1610; 'In confirmation whereof' the warrant orders all
English or Welsh drummers to 'observe the same,' whether at home or
abroad, 'without any addition or alteration whatever.' 'Given at our
palace of Westminster, the seventh day of February, in the seventh
yeare of our raigne, of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland.'
Then follows the march, expressed both in musical notes and
onomatopoetic words. It consists of a Voluntary, and then seven lines
of 'The March,' each of which ends with a 'pause.' The first line is
given thus--Pou tou Pou tou [fermata symbol over next word] poung. The
next three lines are very similar. Line 5 is more elaborate, and the
last two lines run as follows:--
_R R R R_ [fermata symbol over next word] poung.
_R R R_ pou _R R_ pou tou pou _R_ tou pou _R_ [fermata symbol
over next word] poung potang.
See the appendix for the translation into musical notes, which is
given in the warrant itself, but the accuracy of which is
It seems pretty clear that this ancient march of England is of a
period long anterior to the warrant of Charles I. Several passages of
that document point to this. At any rate, it was so old as to have
almost dropped out of knowledge in 1610.
Hawkins gives an interesting note, in which he mentions that the
characteristic of the old English march of the foot was 'dignity and
gravity,' in which it differed greatly from that of the French, which
is given by Mersennus (_b._ 1588) as 'brisk and alert.'
There is a curious story of a conversation between Marshal Biron, a
French general, and Sir Roger Williams, a gallant Low-country soldier
of Elizabeth's time. The marshal observed that the English march
_being beaten by the drum_, was slow, heavy, and sluggish. 'That may
be true,' answered Sir Roger, 'but slow as it is, it has traversed
your master's country from one end to the other.'
The references in Shakespeare all go to confirm the opinion that the
March was played by drums alone--_e.g._, _H. 6. C._ I, ii, 69, where
the stage direction is _A march afar off_, which is immediately
followed by 'I hear their _drums_.' Again, in the same play, Act IV.,
sc. vii. line 50, '_Drummer_, strike up, and let us _march_ away. [_A
_Hautboys._ This is an important musical term, and occurs about
fourteen times in eight plays. It always implies a certain special
importance in the music, and is generally connected with a Royal
banquet, masque, or procession. In six cases, at least, the direction
has some special qualification--_e.g._, Hautboys playing _loud_ music;
_A lofty strain or two_ to the hautboys; Trumpets and hautboys
sounded, and drums beaten _all together_. In _Ant._ IV, iii, 12,
Hautboys supply the supposed ominous 'music in the air.'
The term is closely connected with 'Music,' the remarks on which apply
equally to the present case. (See above, on 'Music,' and the music of
16th century plays).
Not long after Shakespeare's time, orchestral music for the theatre
consisted of stringed instruments only (_i.e._, the violin family,
violins, violas, violoncellos, and the sole surviving 'viol,' the
double-bass) with harpsichord, for general use; while in the more
important pieces, hautboys, and sometimes flutes as well, were added,
playing, as a rule, with the 1st and 2nd violin parts. This, at any
rate, is the case in Purcell's operas. (Purcell died 1695). Thus the
word Hautboys represented very nearly the climax of power to 17th
century ears. Anything beyond this was supplied by the addition of
trumpets, though this was rare; while Drums were very occasionally
The stage direction in Shakespeare may be taken to mean--'Let the
hautboys be added to the usual band of strings.' In the last of the
above examples, _Coriol._ V, iv, 50, we have the extreme limit of
power of this time provided for--viz., trumpets _and_ hautboys _and_
drums, _all together_. It is interesting to notice the wording of
Menenius's description of this stage music. 'The trumpets, sackbuts,
psalteries, and fifes, Tabors and cymbals.' The 'sackbut' was merely
our modern slide trombone, while the rest of these instruments were in
common use in the 16th century, except the Psaltery, which Kircher (b.
1601) says is the same as the Nebel of the Bible. The picture he gives
is remarkably like the dulcimers which may be seen and heard outside
public-houses to this very day, _i.e._, a small hollow chest, with the
strings stretched across it. An instrument of this kind could be
played with the fingers, like a harp, or with a plectrum, like a
zither, or with two little knob-sticks, like the dulcimer. Mersennus
(b. 1588) also identifies the Psaltery with the Dulcimer.
In the text, the Hautboy is only named once, in _H. 4. B_ III, ii,
332, near the end of Falstaff's soliloquy, on old men and lying, where
he says that Shallow was such a withered little wretch that _the case
of a treble hautboy_ was a mansion for him, a court.
The 'treble' hautboy corresponds with our modern instrument, and was
the smallest in size of the hautboy tribe, of which only two now
survive--viz., the Oboe proper, and its cousin, which is a fifth lower
in pitch, and correspondingly larger, and which has curiously picked
up the name of Corno Inglese, Cor Anglais, or English Horn. None the
less it is the Alto Hautboy. The tenor and bass of the family have not
survived. Hautboys in four parts were the backbone of the French
regimental bands in Lully's time--_i.e._, about 1670. [Appendix.]
The spelling of the word in the old editions of Shakespeare is
'hoeboy,' which is very like the modern German Hoboe.
_Sennet._ This is a rare direction, and is found only nine times in
eight plays, as against sixty-eight 'Flourishes' and fifty-one
'Trumpets.' The notes of a sennet are unknown. Three times it marks
the entrance or exit of a Parliament, three times is used in a Royal
or quasi-royal procession, and the remaining cases are royal, or near
In the 1st Folio of Hen. V., the word is spelt _senet_, but in later
ones, _Sonet_, as if the former were a misprint. In Marlowe's Faustus
(published 1604), Act iii. sc. i., we find '_sound a sonnet_' [enter
Pope, Cardinal, etc.]. Also the French Cavalry of 1636 used trumpet
calls named _Sonneries_. These seem to point to a derivation of the
word from _sonare_, and thus the spelling ought to be _sonnet_, not
But other forms are found--Synnet, Signet, Signate, which may be
proper derivatives of _signum_, and thus make this trumpet call 'a
signal,' instead of 'a sounding'; or (which is as likely) may be
corruptions, perhaps ofry, p. 71. _Merry Wives_ III, i, 18.
To shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals;
There will we make our beds of roses,
And a thousand fragrant posies.
When as I sat in Babylon,
And a thousand vagram posies.]
7. 'Come Live with Me,' tune printed 1612, but probably much older.
See p. 71. Marlowe's 'Passionate Pilgrim,' XX., or _Merry Wives_ III,
Come live with me, and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove,
That hills and valleys, dales and fields,
And all the craggy mountain yields.]
8. Peg-a-Ramsey, p. 71. _Tw. Nt._ II, iii, 76.
[Music: Sir Toby]
9. 'Three Merry Men be We,' p. 71. _Tw. Nt._ II, iii, 76. Words from
Peele's 'Old Wives Tale,' 1595, where it is sung. Music from J.
Playford, 1650 _circ._, but may be older.
[Music: Sir Toby
Three merry men, and three merry men, and three merry men be we,
I in the wood and thou on the ground,
And Jack sleeps in the tree.]
10. 'There Dwelt a Man in Babylon,' p. 71. _Tw. Nt._ II, iii, 80.
Music anon., but most probably later than Shakespeare's time.
[Music: Sir Toby
Til-ly val-ley, Lady!
There dwelt a man in Bab-y-lon, in Bab-y-lon, in Bab-y-lon,
There dwelt a man in Bab-y-lon,
Lady! Lady! Lady!]
Here is one verse of the 'Ballad of Constant Susanna,' to which Toby
'There dwelt a man in Babylon
Of reputation great by fame;
He took to wife a faire woman,
Susanna she was callde by name.
A woman faire and vertuous,
Why should we not of her learn thus
To live godly?'
11. 'Farewell, Dear Heart,' p. 72. _Tw. Nt._ II, iii, 102.
Farewell dear heart, since I must needs be gone,
His eyes do shew his days are almost done.
But I will never, never, never die!
Oh there, Sir Toby, there, oh there you lie.]
This can hardly be the original tune to "Corydon's Farewell to
Phillis," from parts of the first and second verses of which the above
words are quoted. See Percy's "Reliques," Vol. I.
12. Here are two relics of music for the Clown in _Tw. Nt._ IV, ii,
probably of the same period as the above.
Hey, Robin, jolly Robin,
Tell me how thy lady does,
Hey, Robin, jolly Robin, tell me how thy lady does.
I'm gone, Sir, and anon, Sir,
I'll be with you again, Sir.]
For the rest of the words of 'A Robyn, Jolly Robyn,' see Percy's
Reliques, Vol. I. p. 148.
13. 'Whoop, do me no harm, good man,' p. 72. _Winter's Tale_ IV, iii,
198. The rest of the words unknown, but several ballads printed in
latter part of 16th century go to this tune--
[Music: Autolycus [Whoop, do me no harm, good man.]]
14. Stephano's 'scurvey tunes,' _Tempest_ II, ii, 41, see p. 73. "As
sung by Mr Bannister" .
I shall no more to sea, to sea,
Here shall I die a-shore.
The master, the swabber, the bosun, and I,
The gunner, and his mate,
Lov'd Mall, Meg, Marian, and Margery,
But none of us car'd for Kate;
For she had a tongue with a tang,
Then to sea, boys, and let her go hang,
Then to sea, boys, and let her go hang.]
15. 'Jog On,' p. 72, _Winter's Tale_ IV, ii, 125. Two more stanzas
were first printed 1661, see Chappell, Vol. I. 160. The tune is from
the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book (Queen Elizabeth's Virginal Book), where
it has the name
Jog on, jog on, the foot-path way,
And merrily hent the stile-a:
A merry heart goes all the day,
Your sad tires in a mile-a.]
16. 'The Hunt is up,' see p. 73, and _Rom. and Jul._ III, v, 34. The
tune is at least as old as 1537, when John Hogon was proceeded against
for singing it with certain political words.
The hunt is up, the hunt is up, and it is well-nigh day;
And Harry our king is gone hunt-ing to bring his deer to bay.]
Grove [see under Ballad] gives quite another tune, to which 'Chevy
Chase' also was sung.
The tune here printed was also sung (1584) to 'O sweete Olyver, leave
me not behind the,' but altered to four in a bar. See _As You_ III,
iii, 95, where a verse is given which will easily fit to the music.
17. 'Heart's Ease,' p. 73. _Rom._ IV, v, 100. Words not known. Tune
18. 'Where Griping Grief,' p. 73, _Rom._ IV, v, 125, by Rich. Edwards,
poet and composer, 1577.
Where griping grief the hart would wound, and dol-ful domps the
There Musick with her sil-ver sound is wont with spede to give
Of troubled minds, for e-ve-ry sore,
Swete Mus-ick hath a salve in store.]
19. 'Green Sleeves,' see p. 74, and _Wiv._ II, i, 60, etc. The tune is
probably of Henry VIII.'s time.
Alas, my love you do me wrong to cast me off dis-courteously,
And I have lov-ed you so long, de-lighting in your company,
Greensleeves was all my joy, Greensleeves was my delight,
Greensleeves was my heart of gold, and who but my Lady Greensleeves.]
20. 'Carman's Whistle,' p. 76, _H. 4. B._ III, ii, 320. Tune as given
by Byrd, who wrote variations on it before 1591.
21. 'Fortune my Foe,' p. 76, _Merry Wiv._ III, iii, 62. This old tune
is, at latest, of Elizabeth's day, and most likely much older. The
words here set are given in Burney, and the harmony is by Byrd, who
wrote variations on it for Queen Elizabeth's Virginal Book.
Ye noble minds, and famous martiall wights,
That in de-fence of native country fights,
Give eare to me, that ten yeeres fought for Rome,
Yet reapt disgrace at my returning home.]
The above words are the first verse of 'Titus Andronicus's Complaint,'
which Burney says was originally written to this tune. The ballad is
given in full in Percy's Reliques, Vol. I. p. 180.
22. Ophelia's Songs, p. 76, _Hamlet_ IV, v.
(_a_) How should I your true love know from a-noth-er one?
By his cockle hat and staff,
And his san-dal shoon.
(_b_) He is dead and gone lady,
He is dead and gone;
At his head a grass green turf,
At his heels a stone.
(_c_) White his shroud as the mountain snow,
Larded with sweet flowers;
Which bewept to the grave did go,
With true love showers.]
This is certainly old, early 16th century. The tune has a striking
likeness to 'Walsingham,' which is the first piece in the Fitzwilliam
Virginal Book. See Percy's Reliques, Vol. II. p. 75. But the date of
the next is not so certain, though probably it is of Shakespeare's
(_a_) Good morrow, 'tis St Valentine's day
All in the morn betime,
And I a maid at your window
To be your Valen-tine.
(_b_) For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy.]
The next two are of the same period as I.
They bore him bare-faste on the bier;
And in his grave rain'd many a tear.]
(_a_) And will he not come a-gain?
And will he not come a-gain?
No, no, he is dead,
Go to thy death bed;
He never will come a-gain.
(_b_) His beard as white as snow,
All flax-en was his poll;
He's gone, he's gone,
And we cast away moan;
God ha' mer-cy on his soul!]
L. 184, 'Bonny sweet Robin.' With the exception of this _one line_,
and _the title_, 'My Robin is to the greenwood gone,' nothing remains
of this song, but the following tune, which is of some date before
My Robin is to the greenwood gone.
For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy.]
23. Catches, of 16th century, prob. long anterior to Shakespeare.
I. 'Hold thy peace,' see p. 77, _Tw. Nt._ II, iii. For _three_ voices,
Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, and Feste the clown, who begins the catch. The
second man follows when the first has arrived at [segno31.
Bacon, _Sylva Sylvarum_, 31.
on the Recorder, 31, 50.
Bagpipe, 78, 81, 96, 98, 102.
Ballads, 20, 70 ff, 86, 97, 98, 200.
Ballad of Constant Susanna, 189.
Ballete, combined dance and song, 113.
Ball-room etiquette (1588), 138, 139, 140, 144.
Bannister, Mr, 191.
Bandore, sort of lute, 170.
'Banket,' 16th cent., 5.
Barber's shop, music in, 7, 18, 19.
Bars, invention of, 34.
Base (bass), quibbles on, 27, 60.
Bass descant, 185.
Basse dance, 137-141.
Beaumont, Gray's Inn Masque, 36, 171.
Beaumont and Fletcher, _Coxcomb_, 16.
Beaumont and Fletcher, _Valentinian_, 171.
Beak-flute, 50, 52.
'Bear his part', 16, 22, 79, 80.
Play his part, 12.
Sing his part, 14.
'Bene's,' the three, 8.
Blacke Saunctus, 10.
Boleyn, Anne, 10.
_Bonduca_, catch in, 17.
'Bonny sweet Robin,' 77, 196, 197, 198.
Bow, viol, 48, and frontispiece.
Branle, Le, dance step, 139.
Bransle, dance (brawl), 115, 147-148 (tune and steps), 149.
Brant, 'Ship of Fools,' 96.
Brawl, dance, 115, 118, 119, (derivation), 123, 208.
Breast, _i.e._ voice, 88.
Bridge, Dr J.F., Shakespeare Songs, 87, 93, 171.
Broken music, 30-32, 103, 104, 125, 187.
Broken time, 32, 33.
Bull, Dr John, 54, 114, 117, 124, 125, 136, 201, 205.
Burden, 22, 23, 24, 26, 69, 78, 82.
Burden, 'Light o' love' without a, 24, 26, 71.
Burney, 36, 195, 196.
Bussing base, 16, 24.
'But shall I go mourn,' 72.
Byrd, William, 54, 76, 124, 171, 195.
'By a bank,' 26.
CANARY, dance, 118, 119, 120, 146 (tune and steps), 208.
Canaries, see Canary.
Cannon, on stage, 165, 168.
Canon, 10, 20.
'Canst thou not hit it,' 200.
Caper, to, in a galliard, 121, 124, 138, 143.
Carey's Dump, My Lady, 128, 207.
'Carman's whistle,' 76, 195.
Catch, 16, 17, 18, 20, 65, 69, 77, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 198, 199.
Caulfield, Collection of Shakespeare music, 77.
Censorinus, on music of Spheres, 153, 154.
Cerreto, Scipione, see Lute, 55.
Chamber music, 12-14, 15, 47.
Chappell, 9, 31, 36, 74, 111, 192.
Charles I., 11, 12.
music in time of, 2.
Chaucer, 65, 129.
_Chelys Minuritionum_, 29, 30.
'Chest' of viols, 45-49.
Chorus, or dance, of heavenly bodies, 154-6.
Christopher Sympson, see Sympson.
Cinquepace, 121, 122, 142 (tune and steps), 202, 208.
Cittern, in barber's shop, 18, 19, 170.
Cittern, carved head of, 19.
Clavichord, 67, 68.
Clergy and Music, 8, 9, 13, 15.
'Cliff' (clef), 40.
Cobbler's Jig, The, 118, 125, 205.
Comedies, Music in the, 4, 169.
'Come live with me,' 188.
Compendium, Sympson's, 116, 117.
Compositions by Henry VIII., 9.
_Comus_, Milton's, 171.
Concord, 27, 32.
Congee, or Congedium, 139.
Consorts, 'broken' and 'whole,' 31, 48, 55, 125.
Consort, of viols, 31, 98, 117.
Coperario (J. Cooper), 12, 36, 47, 171.
Coranto, dance, 115, 116, 118, 121, 122 (derivation), 123, 124, 126,
136, 149-150 (tune and steps).
_Coriolanus_, 166, 167, 176.
Cornet, 170, 179, 180, and x.
Cornet playing, 17th cent., 179.
Cornyshe, W., 66.
Corydon's Farewell to Phillis, 190.
Cotgrave, on 'freeman's songs,' 83.
'Counter,' to, 66, 68, 97, 98.
Country Dance, 115, 116, 122, 123, 126.
Curranta (courante, coranto), 7.
Cushion dance, 118, 126.
_Cymbeline_, 73, 100, 109, 110.
_Damon and Pithias_, 16.
Dances, 16th cent., 137-151.
Dance music, 139, 144, 145, 200, 201 ff.
Dances in Shakespeare, 113 ff.
Dances, sung, 113, 115, 118, 119, 145.
Dancing, time of Elizabeth, James I. and Charles I., 118.
Dances of 16th cent., origin of Sonata form, 113.
Dancing Schools, English, 136.
Dancing, to tabor and pipe, 78, 120, and frontispiece.
Davenant, _The Wits_, 17.
Davies, Sir John, on dances, 123, 124.
_Declaration of Egregious Impostures_, 17.
Dekker, _Satiromastix_, 164.
Descant, 6, 8, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 41, 42, 67, 68, 185.
Descanters, contention of, 6.
Descant on a "ground," 29, 30.
_Deuteromelia_, Ravencroft's, 83.
'Diabolus est,' 37, 186.
Diapason, 22, 23, 153, 154.
Diminution, see Division.
Dinner party, 16th cent., 5.
Dinner, music during, at taverns, 20,
after supper, 105.
Dirge, 109, 110, 111.
Discord, 'restless,' 22, 23,
Division, 28-30, 35, 36, 57, 185, 186.
Division, quibbles on, 28, 35, 36, 186.
Division viol, 29, 30.
Doquet, see Tucket.
Drayton, _Battle of Agincourt_, 16.
Drum, in dancing, 139, 145.
and fife, 160-162.
military, 162, 163, 172-175.
Drums, in theatre band, 176.
Drum March, 172-175, 208.
Dulcimer, 176, 177.
Dump, dance, 22, 23, 59, 61, 98, 127, 128 (derivation), 130, 170, 207.
quibble on, 22, 130.
Dupla, 33, 34.
EAR, musical, 32, 100.
Edward VI., 10.
Edwards, Richard, 73, 128, 169, 193.
Elizabeth, Queen, 10, 11, 15, 53.
Elizabethan public-house song, 17, 20.
Elizabethan times, music in, 2, 4-8, 16, 113, 114 (dances) ff.
'Evening music,' 99, 101.
FALSTAFF and his crew, musicians, 41-43, 76, 85.
'Fancies,' for viols, 47, 76, 101, 117.
'Farewell, dear heart,' 72, 89, 190.
'Farewell, master,' Caliban's Song, 73.
_Faustus_, Marlowe's, 178.
'Fayned' music, 67, 69, 97, 98.
'Fear no more the heat of the sun,' 73, 110.
Fellowships at Cambridge, musical qualification for, 8, 9.
Fiddle, 49, 124.
Fidler, 'common,' 'rascal,' 13, 59.
Fidles, 170, 171.
Fife, 160-162, 176.
Fingering, on lute, 58, 60,
on viol, 44, 101.
'Fish51, 205, 206.
_Orchestra_, poem by Sir John Davies, 123.
Organ, in chamber music, 13, 30, 31, 48, 170 (on stage), 185.
'Orpheus with his lute,' 73.
_Othello_, 102, 161, 166, 182.
Oxford, music at, 12-15.
PAGEANT of the Nine Worthies, 131.
_Pammelia_, Ravenscroft's, 17, 18.
Pandarus's songs, 72.
Pandarus, a musician and singer, 103, 104.
_Paradise Lost_, 155.
_Paradyse of daynty Devises_, 73, 74.
_Parthenia_, 54, 108, 114, 123, 201.
Part-songs by Henry VIII., 9.
Parts, vocal, 5, 7, 24, 25, 65, 72, 79, 80;
Passamezzo, _see_ Pavan.
Passamezzo Pavan (Passy-measures), 114, 126, 134, 145, 201, 203.
Pasqualigo, letter of, 9.
_Passionate Pilgrim_, 71, 188.
Pavan, dance, 108, 113 (for voices), 114, 116 (with Galliard), 134-136,
Pavan, mode of dancing, 134, 144.
Pavan, 'quadrant,' 7.
Pavan, 'strains' of a, 23, 114, 135, 136, 144.
Pavane d'Espagne, _see_ Canaries, 146.
Peal of horns, to wind a; _see_ Horns, 211.
Peele, _Old Wives' Tale_, 16, 189.
'Peg-a-Ramsey,' 71, 89, 188.
Percy's Reliques, 83, 190, 196.
_Pericles_, 44, 64, 101, 107, 152.
Pes, or burden, 24.
Pipe, with tabor, _see_ frontispiece, 78, 80, 81, 97, 98, 161, 162, 169.
of cornstalk, 162.
Pipers and fiddlers, unprofitable, 20.
_Plain and Easy Introduction to Practical Music_, 4-8, 23, 113-116.
Plain song, 6, 8, 41, 42, 50, 67, 69, 185.
Plain song book, 6.
'Play his part,' _see_ 'Bear,' 12.
Playford, John, 12, 45, 189.
Plays of Shakespeare with references to music, 4, _et passim_.
Plays, introduced by trumpets, 164.
Plays with music, 1586 to 1642, 171.
Popular Music, Old English, Chappell's, 9.
Praetorius, 122, 134.
Price, John, 80.
Prick-song, 15, 25, 41, 67, 69, 185.
Professional musicians, 17th cent., 13, 14, 130.
Proportion, 6, 7, 32, 33, 34;
153, Pythagoras on musical.
Psalmody, metrical, 85, 86.
Psychology of music in Shakespeare, 2, 152-158.
Public-house song, Elizabethan, 17, 20.
Punctus, _see_ Prick-song.
Puns, _see_ Quibbles.
Pupil and master, 5, 6, 7, 58-60, 62-64.
Purcell, _Bonduca_, 17, 36, 171.
operas, 176, 182, 183, 211.
Purcell, catch, 77.
Puritan, sings psalms to hornpipes, 84.
_Pyramus and Thisbe_, a masque, 160, 167.
Pythagoras, on music of spheres, 152-156.
QUADRANT Pavan, 7.
Quadrupla, 33, 34.
Quibbles, verbal, on musical terms, 4, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 32, 36,
39, 40, 43, 44, 51, 53, 60, 76, 87, 88, 89, 93, 99, 103, 104, 120, 121,
122, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 135, 163, 183.
Quiddle, to, 16.
RAYE, _see_ Hay.
'Record,' use of the word, 50.
Recorder, 31, 50-53, 170, and frontispiece.
Regals, a small organ, on stage, 170.
_Rehearsal, The_, (comedy), 131.
Rests, 22, 23.
Retreat, stage direction, 171, 172.
_Richard II._, 32, 48, 127, 182.
_Richard III._, 166, 167, 168.
Rimbault; Mus. Antiq. Soc., 36, 171.
Rimbault's '_Rounds, Canons, and Catches_', 17, 72, 83, 94.
_Romeo and Juliet_, 43, 73, 110, 129, 185, 192, 193.
Rotybulle Joyse, 67, 68, 69.
Round, dance, 123, 125, _see_ Hay.
Round (catch), 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 69, 72, 91, 94.
Royal musicians, 9-12.
SACKBUT, 144, 176.
Salary of musicians in taverns, 19, 104.
Salary for a singer, 86, 87, 88.
Saltarello, dance, 84, 115.
Saltiers, company of dancers, 80, 84.
Saraband, dance, 116.
_Satiromastix_, by Dekker, 164.
Sault majeur, in galliard, 124, 138, 143, _see_ Caper.
Sault majeur, in lavolte, 149.
Scale, notation of, 37-40.
Scamps in Shakespeare, mostly musicians, 92,
_see_ Falstaff, Stephano, Pandarus, Toby, Autolycus.
Scotch Jig, 125.
'Scurvey tunes,' 191.
Selden, on dances, 118, 126.
Sellenger's Round, 54.
Sennet, 168, 178 (derivation), 210.
Serenades, 55, 96 ff, 128.
Serpent, 179, 180.
Sesquialtera, 7, 33, 34.
Sesquitertia, 33, 34.
'Set,' to, (of pitch), 26, 27.
quibble on, 27.
Shakespeare, trustworthy in musical matters, 1, 2, 3.
Shakespeare, passages on music classified, 21.
Sharps, 26, 27, 28.
_Ship of Fools_, Brant's, 96.
Shirley, _Triumphs of Peace_, 171.
Shorthouse, Mr J.H., 2.
_Shrew, Taming of the_, 39, 40, 58-60, 63, 64, 92, 168, 183, 187, 199.
Sight-singing, 7, 9, 25.
Silence's songs, 70.
'Sing his part,' see 'Bear,' 14, 15.
Singers' excuses, 93.
Singing, amongst lower classes, 15-18, 66-69, 78-80, 83, 84.
Singing, amongst higher classes, 5-9, 12, 13-15.
Singing, 13th and 14th cent., 65.
Singing, 15th and 16th cent., 66-69, 97, 98.
Singing-man of Windsor, 85.
Sinkapace, see Cinquepace.
Sir Roger de Coverly, dance, 115, 123.
Skelton, 66, 67.
'Sneak's noise,' 105, 106.
Social Life, music in, 4 ff.
Sol-Fa, 35-40, 67, 68, 130, 186.
Songs, mentioned or quoted in Shakespeare, 69 ff.
Sonneries, French trumpet calls, 178, 210.
_Sonnet VIII_, 25.
_Sonnet CXXVIII_, 54.
_Sophonisba_, by Marston, 170.
Spheres, Music of the, 152-156.
Spinet, 145, and frontispiece.
St Thomas Wake, Pavan and Galliard, 136, 201-203.
Stage Directions, musical, 4, 159, 165 ff, 169-171, etc.
Stanley, Thos., Hist. of Philos., 152.
Stephano's songs, 73, 191.
Steps, of dances, 122, 124, 139.
Stop, to, of strings, etc., 22, 26, 51, 52, 53.
Strain, technical meaning of, 23, 108, 114, 116, 124, 135, 136.
Strain, quibble on, 22, 23.
'Sumer is icumen in,' 23, 24, 65.
Supper, music after, 5, 105.
_Sylva Sylvarum_, Bacon's, 31.
Sympson, Christopher, 29, 30, 37, 38, 47, 116, 117, 185.
TABOR and Pipe, 78, 80, 81, 91, 92, 131, 133, 139, 161, 162, 176, and
Tabourin and Flutte, 139.
Tabourine, military drum, 162, 209.
Tabourot, Jehan, see Arbeau, 137.
Tangents, of clavichord, 68.
Tarantism, 35, 106.
Taverns, Music in, 19, 20, 104, 105.
Technical terms, musical, 21 ff.
_Tempest_, 73, 77, 81, 91, 92, 107, 122, 171, 191.
Temple, Sir W., 132, 133.
Text, music in Shakespeare's, 4.
'The God of Love,' 70.
'The hunt is up,' 192.
'The master, the swabber,' 73, 191.
Theatres, closed, 19.
Theatres, music at, 175-177.
Theorbo, lute, 46, 56.
'There dwelt a man in Babylon,' 71, 89, 189.
'They bore him barefaste,' 77, 197.
'Thou knave,' 87, 88, 89, 198.
Threemen songs, 16, 66, 69, 79, 82, 83, 84, 85, 199.
'Three merry men,' 71, 89, 188.
Thunder and lightning, on stage, 165.
Time, _see_ Proportion.
Time, to keep, 22, 23, 32, 42, 43, 44, 87.
_Timon of Athens_, 115, 181.
Titus Andronicus, ballad of, 76, 196.
_Titus Andronicus_, 183, 211.
'To shallow rivers,' 71, 187.
Toby Belch's, Sir, songs, 71, 72, 188, 190, 198.
Toccata, 62, 181.
Tocco di campana, 62.
'Tom o' Bedlam,' 35, 36.
Tordion, dance, 138, 141, 142.
'Touch,' to, an instrument, 49, 62, 108.
Tragedies, Music in the, 4, 165, 169.
Trenchmore, or Frenchmore, a dance, 118, 131.
Trinity Coll., Camb., Statutes of, 8, 9.
Tripla, 33, 34.
_Troilus and Cressida_, 32, 72, 103, 104, 124, 162, 166.
Trumpets, in the theatre band, 176.
Trumpets, stage direction, 168, 169, 175, 178.
Tucket, 62, 63, 180-182, 210, 211.
Tudway, Dr, 49.
Tune, to keep in, 22, 26, 27, 28, 100.
_Twelfth Night_, 29, 48, 71, 72, 77, 81, 88, 89, 94, 95, 108, 114, 121,
135, 152, 188-190, 198, 201, 202, 203.
_Two Gentlemen of Verona_, 24, 26, 71, 81, 98, 99, 100, 117, 128, 207.
_Two Italian Gentlemen_, comedy by Munday, 170.
'Two maids wooing a man,' 72, 79.
_Two Noble Kinsmen_, 71.
'UNDER the greenwood tree,' 72.
University, music at, 16th and 17th cent, 7, 8, 9, 12-14.
'Usurer's wife, The,' ballad, 72, 79.
Ut, Re, Mi, 37-40, 187.
VARIATIONS, 28, 29, 48, 195.
_Venus and Adonis_, 166.
Viol, treble, tenor, bass, 12, 13, 19, 31, 45, 46, 47, 171, and
Viols, 11-14, 19, 44-49, 61, 65, 98, 101, 170.
Viols, tuning of, 46, 47.
Viol da Gamba, 11, 12, 19, 29, 30, 45, 46, 47, 48.
Viol da Gamba, divisions on the, 29, 30, 186.
Violin, 45, 49, 62, 145, 176.
Violin, thought vulgar, 13, 46, 59.
Violone, double-bass, 48, 176.
Virginal, 10, 11, 13, 31, 53, 54, 68, 76, 123.
Virginal, Qu. Elizabeth's, 11, 53, and frontispiece.
Virginal Book, _see_ Fitzwilliam _and_ Lady Nevell.
Volta, Volte, _see_ Lavolta.
Weavers, and singing, 86, 87, 88.
'Wee be souldiers three,' 199.
'What shall he have,' 77, 94.
'When Arthur first,' 70.
'When daffodils,' 72.
'When griping grief,' 73, 128, 130, 193.
'White his shroud,' 196.
'Whoop, do me no harm,' 72, 78, 190.
'Will you buy any tape,' 72.
Windsor, St George's Chapel Choir, 85.
_Winter's Tale_, 53, 72, 78, 80, 190, 192, 199.
Wood, Anthony, 12, 13.
Wright, Mr W. Aldis, 9, 31, 83.
YE noble minds, 195.
* * * * *
TURNBULL AND SPEARS
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